Tierce is a trio embodied by Jez riley French, Ivan Palacký and Daniel Jones, working on an array of peculiar and regular generators of sounds that include a zither, contact microphones, electronics, turntable and an amplified knitting machine shrewdly combined with plenty of field recordings. The latter inform a substantial portion of the record but never overwhelmingly, although clearly representing an essential constituent of the whole. In an interview on the label’s website, French indicates his preferred definition of the music as “intuitive composition” in lieu of “improvisation”. I tend to agree with him, for Caisson appears as a somewhat pre-organized work, not something devised on the spot.
If one’s focus is not fossilized on the incidence of elements from everyday’s time, the parallelism that more than once comes to mind has to do with Keith Rowe’s aesthetic laws. Not only for the way in which, for example, the acoustic imagery shifts from glimpses and close-ups of concrete manual tampering to the relentless presence of lengthy rumbles, hums and pitches at the extremes of the auditory range. What causes the association is, mainly, the extremely deliberate pace through which the overall design is developed, highlighted in sections where we’re left without a clue about what’s going to happen a moment later.
The waiting is usually rewarded by subsequent acoustic occurrences that persuade the ears in their vague familiarity, yet are also far from predictable. The participants proceed with the exploration in total confidence, apparently sheltered from any potential unconstructiveness. Flashes of people’s lives and scrupulous investigations of the inherent properties of the bits and pieces utilized by the threesome are alternated with stretches of incorruptible droning and morsels of quasi-hush barely broken by subtle noises. Clear-headedness prevails all along the path, an important aid for the correct assimilation of this stimulating album.