DAVID WATSON / TONY BUCK – Ask The Axes

Besom Presse

The recently launched Besom Presse imprint (out of Los Angeles) gifts us with a vinyl album by bagpipe master David Watson and celebrated percussionist Tony Buck, of The Necks renown. Two long-ish tracks, not totally improvised and definitely multi-tracked in certain sections, at once slightly dissimilar and absolutely cohesive.

“Beating” starts with Watson laying out extended tones all alone, progressively stockpiling a considerable amount of quavering striations directly pointing at the nape of the neck in a classic case of “therapeutic droning” setting. Later on Buck enters the scene, softly at first then providing irregularly cyclical/mildly obsessive poly-patterns, ultimately superimposing his own brand of shamanism to push the temperature towards the scale’s highest. In “Exhale”, Buck’s rolling nimbleness informs the music from the early stages as Watson produces a veritable spate of pitches. Some of the latter depart from the buzzing organism to hover over the brain in the shape of harsh – but still hypnotic – melodic cells. Around the 12th minute, Buck remains solitary for a while with natural-sounding, bicycle wheel-like figurations soon rejoined by his comrade’s blazing spurts. The interlacing of reiterative pulse, edgy lines and scathing partials glues the ears to the headphones; however, should you elect to play the material loud in an apartment, a good chance exists that the neighbours won’t be happy.

A reminder for the forgetful: the basis of subconscious knowledge is frequently born from the ripples of an apparent stasis. And when that stasis is eventually broken, the process of apprehension becomes even more interesting.

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