Rhodri Davies: lap harp, transducer, overdrive, volume pedal, two amplifiers, contact microphone
Totally unafraid of losing a chunk of EAI-addict “loyal” fans, Rhodri Davies churns out ten slaps in the face of fatuous meditation. Compact explorations full of healthy rust, galvanizing power and – that’s right – technical finesse that will probably uproot a bit those who don’t have a clue about how polyrhythms work, particularly when subjected to processes of variable velocity. Davies does that a lot in this record – an ideal example being “Questions Of ______________ Middle Distance”. The consequence: a brain not used to that approach perceives the whole as rather stubborn, if not chaotic. Quite far from the actual facts, needless to say.
As truly perceptive players of multi-stringed instruments know – including pianists, of course – the ability of developing extended auras of significant vibration is something that requires decades of training, not exclusively digital. When that point is reached, the instrumentalist arrives to what is generally (and cheaply) described as “getting lost in sound”, still maintaining a different type of awareness. Putting the complexity of the implications relative to this phenomenon in mere words would almost be unreasonable in a dedicated treatise, let alone in a review. But Wound Response has much to do with that. The Welsh harpist evidently throws his soul in there, the hands completely independent but perfectly coordinated in extracting baffling carillon patterns à la Palestine and staggering superimpositions of diverse pulses. The overdrive pedal appears more as a choice to facilitate the generation of hypnotizing hues than a gesture of rebellion against the “classic” use of the instrument. Some of the harshest episodes call back the masked harmoniousness that informs chosen sections of Lou Reed’s Metal Machine Music, with a higher degree of skillfulness.
Davies may look like a diffident person, but his sounds are not. These essential pieces are all excellent and straight-moving, inducing an alternance of entrancement and attentive structural analysis in the equipped listener’s mind. Ultimately this is a brilliant statement, released in 350 transparent vinyl copies.