RHODRI DAVIES / MARK WASTELL – Live In Melbourne

Mikroton

Firstly, this Melbourne is in the Derbyshire county, not in Australia. In 2005, Rhodri Davies and Mark Wastell recorded a 36-minute performance at the local Festival, bringing along a number of small instruments and noise-generating devices that did NOT include their darling harp and tam-tams. Actually, if you look at the list of sources setting aside electronics and various disc players, mixers and pedals, then thinking about a duo of artisans practicing the craft in front of an audience would be nearly justified (ceramic tiles, sandpaper, wire wool and cardboard also connect the memory with some of Alfredo Costa Monteiro’s work). Anyhow, the product reflects the extreme variety and relative inexpensiveness of the sonic constituents, ultimately resulting in a short and sharp statement where one’s not afforded the luxury of sinking on the sofa or dwelling in contemplation. Initially, the shrapnel-like bursts of activity might recall a remote alien guerilla; it doesn’t take long before stabilizing factors appear, to the point that – prior to reading the instrumentation – I had thought that Davies’ eBowed strings were a part of the equation. On the contrary, the pale rainbows of harmonically layered hums are presumably the fruit of the Welshman’s lo-fi gadgets (to which perhaps a degree of singing bowl is added, though establishing roles and derivations in this kind of landscape is an ambitious task). At times, genuinely alarming crescendos defined by growling and whirring matters in charged tautness gain a considerable share of the music’s heterogeneous kinetics. Succinctly speaking, substance definitely prevails upon appearance in a set completely devoid of ornamental holiness in favour of an extremely practical, literally hands-on type of expression.

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