Rhodri Davies Was Here


The origin of this music is a 10-minute harp improvisation sent by Davies to Büttner after they decided to start a collaboration in 2006. The three chapters are completely different in character and dynamics, giving the listener a chance to discover hidden, or just elusive aspects of an instrument that too often gets mentally associated with beatific choirs and syrupy orchestral settings. “Glas” begins with fairly fluid features, soon followed by a deeply resounding changeover to algid sonorities – fluctuating in a vast acoustic space – that inexorably call Asmus Tietchens’ work to mind. “Plok” is beyond doubt a lesser episode, essentially illustrated by nondescript microsonic activities and untailored appendages spotting the general quietness, scarcely weighty on a compositional level. In a classic case of dulcis in fundo, the conclusive “Bow” saves the best for last, introducing us to an absorbing study of booming frequencies in feeble luminescence, slightly perturbed by blurred underwater chugs towards the end. While it’s true that recurring to drones to save the day is a well-known escape from trouble, in this occasion Büttner delivers by ending a half-interesting album on a positively compelling note of unsettling incertitude. (Auf Abwegen)


Carliol comprises seven tracks recorded by Butcher and Davies on a choice of saxophones and harps, enhanced by motorized appliances and making use of embedded speakers. Both types of instruments find an ideal point of fusion at the border between feedback and drone while keeping their exclusively acoustic properties intact – the clack of the keys, the plucked attack on the strings, the “frying” noise of the mouthpiece – thus reaching a nearly perfect dynamic stability which is reflected throughout the 44-plus minutes of this stimulating album. Even before the start, the awareness of the artistic blamelessness always shown by these musicians predisposes the cognizant listener in a certain frame of mind. You know for sure that nothing but serious experimentation will be heard, independently from the likeableness of the sheer aesthetic outcome. In this case, the expectancy is fully recompensed by the successful attempt of Butcher and Davies to demonstrate new ways of expressing what they had already discovered in the past. The flutter and the vibration interact superbly, meshing intuition and predetermination; many of these sounds are clearly manifest at first, yet the same piece that starts so concretely can intoxicate with clouds of noxious upper partials at the end, without a conscious realization of the process on the audience’s side. The close frequencies giving birth to the dissonant throb in “Ouse Poppy” and the incandescent rays generated by the Aeolian harp in “Distant Leazes” as Butcher’s funnily talkative soliloquy goes on are just two amidst several representative pictures in this collection of pleasant contrasts and gracious antagonisms. (Ftarri)
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