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Label & Cat.Number: Alt.Vinyl av014
Release Year: 2010
Note: second collab between Clarinettist GARETH DAVIS & THUJA / HALA STRANA-member STEVEN R.SMITH using guitar => stunning experimental dronescapes, with lots of resonances & space.. lim. 500, lovely cover
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €15.50
More Info"Clarinettist Gareth Davis and guitarist Steven R Smith (Hala Strana, Mirza, Thuja) have already collaborated to stunning effect back on 2009’s “Westering” released on the Important label. This alt.vinyl release sees them gain another notch in history’s belt. The at-first-glance bizarre pairing of these two instruments might conjure up images of anchorless skronk and scratch, however “The Line Across” is anything but. With each side of the vinyl containing just the one ambitious piece, this duo creates seas of organic drone that live and breathe.
Unspooling like wisps of smoke, the tones of “Other Forms of Consecrated Life” simultaneously conjure exotica and melancholy. What Davis and Smith manage to pull off here is the sound of flickering reflections in canal tunnels, something beyond drone and soundscaping; 3/4 cloud cover sporadically parting to reveal abyssic drops within it. It is not all intangible drift though; raw guitar sequences (even rhythm parts) appear in the sound as clarinet echoes and violin/fiddle tensions make textures from foreboding trails of drones. If a piece of shorthand could be applied to Steven R Smith’s playing here, then picture a Colour Haze or Earth trading instrumental punches with Derek Bailey through a Styrofoam cup phone.
On the flipside is “The Natural History of Devastation”, a piece that falls somewhere on the fields far beyond descriptions and sounds of grace and mourning. There are unconscious nods to a GYBE! sound here, layered stately string sounds and the chiaroscuro of feedback and waves of black moving across the vinyl. This track is a slow lull of strangled clarion call, Orbison’s cold fingers on the guitar and banks of fog leaving only loss in the sound’s wake. Things might not at first listen appear like they’re going to be ok in the morning, but familiarity with “The Line Across” shows that they might just end up close to perfect after all.
180g vinyl, limited to 500 copies."
"Work by Gareth Davis has been reviewed before, either solo or in collaboration with others, such as Machinefabriek. Here he teams up again with Steven R. Smith, with whom he already recorded 'Westering', a LP for Important Records (see Vital Weekly 683). Smith (also a member of Hala Strana, Mirza, Thuja) plays electric guitar, spike fiddle and nail violin, and Davis is on bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet. This time recorded in two studios, in Amsterdam and in Los Angeles. Two side long improvised pieces, which continue the mood of the previous record. Mood music that it is. Music that depicts the endless road through the desert. The guitar is played with an open end, sometimes with a slide and always with lots of echo. The clarinets cook up a background drone for it. Sometimes things get even a bit rhythmic on the guitar. A desolate atmospheric piece, this 'Other Forms Of Consecrated Life'. On the other side we find 'The Natural History Of Devastation', which starts out low humming. From there things evolve in a rather natural way. Guitars are layered through the looping device and gradually built up over the course of the piece. The clarinet goes into a much more abstract territory here and perform some great drone like background. An excellent piece, the best duo piece from these two. A totally great record." [FdW/Vital Weekly]
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