Tim Hodgkinson: lap steel guitar, clarinet, electronics; Ken Hyder: drums, voice, electronics; Gendos Chamzyryn: voice, percussion, amplified doshpulur.
The object of this writeup documents a gig taped in Catania, Sicily in 2009. It is not the sort of record you’re going to worship on a first listen. This is about getting into “anesthetized cognition” mode and staying there for three quarters of an hour, without even thinking “beauty” or “like”. As per their indications on the liners, the musicians found themselves in the condition of deciding on single or conjunct paths during the action; the respective ears and intuitions did the rest, spontaneously realizing when the moment was right to leave someone alone in individual catharsis or join forces in now unsteady, now more regularly pulsating invocations.
The danger, in analogous cases, is for the music to deteriorate over the course of its unfolding. A lack of rational consistency may hypothetically lead to chaos; a distressed audience could predispose the performers to a loss of concentration, thus altering the initial attitude. Fortunately, in this case everything seems to have worked fine, different spins adding crucial acoustic details that a one-dimensional approach might overlook, principally in the quietest components. Those consequential suspensions of realness are enhanced by a type of instrumental underscoring whose order of magnitude is proportional to the general sense of evocative primitiveness. The most unmistakable trait of this shamanic ceremony is Chamzyryn’s vocalism, now and again involving to the point of transporting an aptly adjusted listener into not-exactly-regular states of mind. Yet my own favorite spots are those when he and Hodgkinson conjure up jangling spells from the strings of processed lap-steel and doshpulur (a Tuvan derivation of the lute) while Hyder distillates the subtler shades of the drum set.
These concoctions of unambiguous gestures and spellbinding communions need focus to distribute their weight in the psyche. One thing’s for sure; you’ll never be able to denigrate K-Space in any way, such is the level of severity conveyed by Black Sky. Challenging materials that will vanquish the disbelief in the persistent.