DITHER – Dither


This is 2010’s debut release of a guitar quartet form New York, its repertoire including works from composers such as Phill Niblock, Fred Frith, James Tenney, Arvo Pärt (!), Nick Didkovsky and Elliott Sharp (who penned the liner notes), in addition to younger ones who are absolutely, and culpably, unknown to this reviewer. The names of the guitarists are Taylor Levine, David Linaburg, Joshua Lopes and James Moore: welcome to my world, guys. Dither contains music that challenges most expectations, gives utter importance to structure, pulse and – in particular – adequateness of a given timbre in a predetermined context; also, it is not shy of showing the fangs, snarling quite a bit to hypothetical vacuous listeners. Its constituents synthesize a snippet from here and a smidgen from there, mixing the same filthiness of Velvet Underground’s “Venus In Furs” (Laurie Fefferman’s “Tongue Of Thorns”) with the repetitive acridness of Tony Conrad’s “Outside The Dream Syndicate” or the out-of-phase entrancing muttering of Steve Reich’s “Come Out” (the final section of “Vectors”). The lone track composed by one of the quartet’s members is Lopes’ “Pantagruel” (think “Fred Frith Guitar Quartet meets Robert Fripp’s angularity with a touch of deformed reflectiveness”), whereas the conclusive “exPAT” – conceived by Eric km Clark – is planned to have the musicians performing their parts while wearing earplugs and headphones emitting white noise: they can’t hear what the others do. What has been written to this point should have by now suggested that we’re taking about artists whose taste is eclectic to say the least; the general feel of slightly angry open-mindedness and the accurate choice of the things to do – and to avoid – does the rest, furnishing us with numerous moments of intense absorption occasionally corroborated by startling surprises bathed in chromatically tinged buzz, mesmerizing dissonant jangle and post-ambient suspension (examples to be located in Lisa R. Coons’ “Entropion” and “Prolix”). Not to mention the invaluable freshness defining the disc’s large part, a true vaccination against the many commonplaces typically associated to the six strings. Without excess of smiles, a very good album.

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