The crafting of spick-and-span clusters and the talent in making those close intervals result as unchallengeable substance are the artistic and technical grounds upon which Nerve Cure is constructed. The Remote Viewers’ 10th release reveals the umpteenth lineup change (Adam Bohman, Caroline Kraabel and John Edwards join core members Dave Petts, Adrian Northover, Sue Lynch and Rosa Lynch-Northover). The septet is as always comfortable in terms of reed investigation – of a rather icy variety, lest one dreams too much – but this time the immediately apparent components also include the droning growls of Edwards’ bass and the coarse voice of Bohman’s bowed objects, together with a strange and uncredited presence: these aging years seem in fact to detect an electronic keyboard, perhaps a workstation, adding a couple of flaky synthetic oddities to the formula. But they might be wrong.
The absolute disengagement from sentiment through which the group tackles the angularity of the scores is at times disorienting, yet the acoustic outcome remains, as ever, wholly gratifying. The rational collocation of unanticipated pauses and anomalous accents amidst the ensemble’s trademark melodic awkwardness permits a thorough evaluation of the message in every circumstance. Tuned percussion and field recordings are employed in the building of compositional units characterized by extracurricular counterpoints, usually ending in vociferous tutti that, at various points, forced this reviewer to lower the headphone volume level in order to let the auricular membranes receive the stinging swarm more harmlessly. There’s a quantity of blithe humour behind these occasionally hair-raising pieces; sure enough, the intelligent skilfulness that they exude is a cardinal reason for the reiteration of the listening experience. Music that leaves evident traces in the memory without excess of spicy tricks, prosaic ornaments and useless protractions.