WILL GUTHRIE – People Pleaser

Black Truffle

A previously overlooked note by Will Guthrie struck me as I was listening to this 30-minute piece for the sixth or seventh time in a row; it said “constructed in May/June 2016, while waiting the arrival of my 2nd child”. We could lucubrate about the unmistakable anxiety preceding such an important event and the intelligent methods to fight it. Or perhaps think of this music as a sort of overture conceived by the Nantes-based Australian as a pre-birth familiarization of the newborn with the systematic shifting of pressure levels and contrastive feelings humans are subjected to as soon as their place in this world has been granted.

To stay a little more on solid ground, this vinyl LP comprises a work that should ideally be described as home-brewed musique concrete heavily informed by Guthrie’s ever-energetic drumming. The latter was captured in different environments, variously equalized – often down to veritable lo-fi – and occasionally altered in speed. The acoustic properties of the percussive constituents are improved by a healthy everything-but-the-kitchen-sink attitude, including the exercising of resonant metals and assorted membranophones in close proximity to everyday noise (and even an ancient pinball machine at one point, if these ears are not double-dealing yet).

However, the album’s core qualities are found in the tight seaming of real life snapshots and strictly sonic matters: looped-and-mangled snippets of commercial recordings, conversation shards, vociferous skateboarding youngsters, muffled choral ghosts from the insides of a church. If the aforementioned sources can be recognized, there’s also a lot of “extraneous interference” of uncertain origin leaving the listener guessing. Those emissions can be utterly grimy, electrically charged, spatially slanted, celestially radiophonic. In a nutshell, “harmonious” in the most ionospheric acceptation of the adjective. One thing’s for sure: they never sound sterile, attributing fascinating shapes to a creative impulse that cannot leave anyone indifferent.

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