SLW epitomizes the “EAI super group”, consisting in fact of Burkhard Beins (selected percussion, objects), Lucio Capece (soprano sax, bass clarinet, preparations), Rhodri Davies (harp, electro acoustic devices) and Toshimaru Nakamura (no-input mixing board). No likelihood of failure, one would say, with names like these and indeed the self-titled CD delivers what promised on paper. Configurational clearness and rational advancement of the processes are among the qualities of the music expressed by this quartet. The timbral disposition tends to the “harshly high” register for the large part of the improvisations, yet that sensation of aural flagellation typifying some of the releases in this field is not in attendance. Each of the participants looks severely committed to their roles, the ensuing idea that of four unrelated instrumental lives being scrutinized along parallel courses, each independent from the other three, all still functional to a collective questioning of quietness – except for a brief noisier segment – in different, often surprising ways. A good example of how to go straight to the core essence of a sonic source without actually eviscerating its strictly acoustic content, and in this case the sum of the parts almost exceeds the substance of the single features. This could be a minor shocker for many people: it sounds as expected, but not completely.
A truly great record – perhaps even better than SLW’s, but it’s probably nitpicking – comes from Worwolf (Michael Vorfeld and Christian Wolfarth, percussion). Snake’s Eye – ever since looking at the sleeve and the track titles – refers to Sumo fighting, yet there’s no parallelism with bodily harm or physical contact whatsoever. The couple shares ranges and consistencies of their arsenals, tapping with bare fingers on a drum, scraping metals with an arco (I believe) and varied apparatuses, generating that typical aura of zinging pierce that becomes an indispensable presence after only a few minutes. The most remarkable episodes originate from the weighty resonance that Vorwolf set in motion through the harmonic shuddering of the skin, which at times reminds me of those moments of mental dislocation that, inescapably, hit this listener when the surrounding environment projects specific kinds of faraway rumbles, especially when that happens in the early afternoon. This unusual cross of acridness and suspension/floatation, emblematic of both players, is a key to the sort of inwardness which certain frequencies are able to stimulate as no word can. Forceful yet guarded music, a superb soundtrack for pre-consciousness to be spun frequently.