Tuesday, 8 January 2013
2 X CONSUMER WASTE REVIEWS
Draught. MATT EARLE, JASON KAHN, ADAM SUSSMAN (Consumer Waste)
Review by Chris Whitehead
Tactility plays a big part in the Consumer Waste universe. Letter-pressed sleeves of biscuit coloured card that come in brown paper envelopes. If you are releasing something on a physical format that you can hold in your hands, you might as well make it, well, physical. These two CDs were made available at the same time last year each in an edition of 100.
In a way they both speak the same language, with different accents and with different inflections, but still recognisably the same language.
Part I. Draught
You might well expect an improvisation featuring three men all playing electronics would lead to an overblown noisefest, but not this time. Earle, Kahn and Sussman play a music that is not defined by the space inside it, rather the space around it. Everything sounds pretty close to the ears, sometimes startlingly so. Occasionally it’s as if the vibrations are being tympanically generated or intra-cochlear in nature. Linear blips and small tides of silvery static erupt and fade, as if the musicians are trying to squeeze their tones through a tight conduit: A beam reaching out through space, highly focused and concentrated, but prone to leakage and disruption. Anything escaping is lost like a decaying particle and flickers to zero mass in the outlying darkness.
The two tracks comprising Draught last around twenty minutes each and are nameless. No meaning or reference is implied, although a compass on the cover suggests navigation, distance, direction, magnetism, attraction, positioning and precision. At points real physical activity seems to occur and then abruptly vanishes, but these recordings of movement and found sound are mere outliers to the electrical flow, which remains directed and concise.
During the second track the beam widens and becomes more disturbed. Squalling frequencies and frazzled circuits become evident. Periods of stuttering static and a falling, low resonance that refuses to disperse begins an unravelling of the music’s core. More leakage. More distance. Bristling ticks of static over bell like tones. Is this evidence of attack from outside or decay from inside? It ends on what might be a distorted communication from areas and entities unknown.
The Good Life. SARAH HUGHES, KOSTIS KILYMIS
(Consumer Waste 2012)
Review by Chris Whitehead
Part II. The Good Life
Fossils and Things (27:07). Open and clean, with clear air between the sounds that you can walk through (or a cat could walk through at least). Sarah Hughes’ playing of zither and mosquito alarm mirrors her physical art: Installations of objects strategically situated in empty, reflective, light filled rooms. She waits for the moment and places a note or some other event into the work. Once again, as in Draught, the space around this music is immense.
Kostis Kilymis stretches a gossamer backdrop of micro-undulating sound behind the poignant gestures of Hughes. Working extensively with feedback in galleries as well as in live music creation, Kilymis offers a glistening, textured surface of approximately the same finely grained roughness as the cardboard sleeves these releases are packaged in.
The track begins with crackles, much as Draught does, then delicate string vibrations, tap like drips, then silence. A high lonesome field forms a canvas on which glassy drops fall, the tick tick tick of a pulse. Subtle, metallic sounds like bowed metal. Quiet. Quiet.
Pussy Riot (23:55). Poised and delicate, Kilymis broadcasts his translucent background radiation beneath Hughes’ plucked notes. They fall across the surface and leave telltale marks in the mind. This duo has a coherence and a complimentary single vision, otherwise beautiful pieces like Pussy Riot would never evolve.
All four of the tracks from these two seperate CDs can be listened to in any order without the listener having to learn a new language. That isn’t to say they have the same things to say, just that there is a commonality of means and execution. Two excellent releases.
I just hope Sarah didn’t get back from the recording session to find her house full of mosqitoes.
*image courtesy of Fluid Radio
Consumer Waste website