KEITH ROWE / TOSHIMARU NAKAMURA – ErstLive 008

Erstwhile

Coupling of well-traveled masters who, for good measure, engendered one of my overall favorites of the last decade (Between, same label). The music was recorded at Tokyo’s Kid Ailack Art Hall during 2008’s AMPLIFY: Light festival on guitar, electronics and no-input mixing board. After a few interlocutory seconds, the duo is seen with dirtied hands in a place where a stressing colorless frondescence measures the listener’s psychic grounding. The sense of disconnected unkindness is corroborated by a razor-sharp, electrically induced midrange juxtaposed with sturdy buzzing, the combination appearing cyclically reiterative for large chunks. The feedback depicts skeletal fragments of alien codes as ill-natured drones affirm their power in a steady pulse. A constant contraction – deprived of the relative expansion – attributes a phobic kind of feel to the process, but those overcharged growths achieve great results in neurological terms: stimulation, for the brain and consequently for the ear’s inner mechanisms, is assured throughout. A stability of sorts is barely reached when the various textures gradually begin to coalesce into a pseudo-static cleansing of every residual harmonic dye. Under this growingly inhospitable environment, the ebb and flow of the lower frequencies furnishes us with the glimpse of a heartbeat that comes and instantly disappears. Interesting to note that the only immediately identifiable guitar-generated sounds appear around the 24th minute, fading out of the mix shortly thereafter. This should give you an idea of what this work is all about: an amassment of wonderful neuroses more than a simple improvisational set. Not for everybody then – yet utterly brilliant.

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