BILL THOMPSON – Live At The Brunswick Club, Bristol, June 19 2017

Touch Radio

Similarly to what happens for junkies in desperate need of substances to satisfy their unmanageable impulses, there’s always someone pointing a man whose quest for silence is systematically interrupted towards a dose of mind-stabilizing frequencies. This half-hour live set occurred less than a couple a weeks ago, rendering this review a double rarity: it is written after a very short time from the event, and it does not deal with an actual release (at least, not in the typical meaning).

All of the above doesn’t matter a iota in front of the luminescent healthiness irradiated by Bill Thompson’s conception of pregnant stasis. Because this is what we’re (mostly) dealing with in this case: music that unfolds unhurriedly and mutates its harmonic shades imperceptibly, immediately re-tuning a brain that had become populated by the black clouds of unwelcome early morning occurrences. There’s nothing much one can do besides letting the concoction of oscillating strings, sine waves and mild noises dictate the direction for our intuition to follow. Even when the textural mass suddenly rises to harshness – around the 24th minute – there’s still a certainty of returning to the previous steadiness; the fundamental vibration ultimately prevails, with only a slightly increased quantity of jangle elicited by some rotating appliance on the guitar. The resonances conveyed by Thompson are utterly glorious from the first instant to the last; that “wo-wo-wo-wo” pulse may induce tears of liberation in the right moment.

As I’m editing this text I must have arrived at the tenth straight listen. This is a concise method for achieving a defenseless beauty, which should appeal – also in spirit – to fans of both Keith Rowe’s quivering pureness (as in Between, with Toshimaru Nakamura) and Charlemagne Palestine’s work with oscillators. People at the Brunswick Club were lucky, that night. Check for yourselves, and start cleaning up heads and capstan inside your mental deck.

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