CRAIG HILTON / TOMAS PHILLIPS – Le Goût De Néant

Absinth

One of those records that instantly projects an aura of crucial gravity to the trained auditor, this joint effort by Hilton (guzheng, laptop) and Phillips (laptop) has been causing resounding ripples in this room and a couple of question marks in my head for two days now. It is also the kind of music that, built upon a pretty essential palette, transports its own complexity well beyond the initial appearance. The first two tracks “Sans Mouvement” – I and II – give more relevance to the altered lineaments of Hilton’s instrument, transmitting imagery linked to slowly mutating harmonic clouds meeting and meshing. The result is an impressive stack of semi-dissonant bowed shades, halfway through a mourning string orchestra and Bernhard Günter’s cellotar. The 24-minute title track deploys instead a succession of shorter episodes, apparently unlinked but entirely coherent as a whole, that mix additional types of (ever-splendid) resonances with the noisy/concrete details derived from the manipulation of the guzheng’s various parts. The way in which plucked chords, creaking wood and metallic intrusions are displayed and recombined into a composition characterized by several silent pauses and sudden returns of the above described stratified richness should be respected as a paradigm by many aspirants. The third part of “Sans Mouvement” is a fitting conclusion to this gorgeous release: the area of investigation is, for lack of a better description, that of underwater subsonic sonorities moving at the pace of a huge snail, barely dotted by acute computerized emissions. Superficially speaking, we could associate Lustmord (in his golden age) and Thomas Köner to the piece’s temperament. In actuality, this is the definitive seal on the envelope containing unfathomable messages by two expert operators of psyche-tingling frequencies.

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