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- Bitter Suites by U.S. Steel Cello Ensemble
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Those marvellous people at Holidays have sent us a couple more records this week which I’m pleased about because their output is at worst interesting. This one here is a deluxe reissue of an LP originally issued in 1979, containing music performed on Robert Rutman’s Bow Chime and Single String Steel Cello - astonishing devices which utilise the resonant qualities of large pieces of sheet metal by turning them into bowed instruments.
What resulted was an LP which, even 30 years on, sounds haunting and otherworldly. The metal buzzes and squeaks and rumbles magnificently as the ensemble tumble through droning, semi-melodic compositions which sometimes have the mournful, controlled emotion of a string orchestra and elsewhere delve into magical freeform romps which sound almost subaquatic, like a choir of whales, and in other places still the sound is reminiscent of buzzing, plaintive trumpets and saxophones in shuddering primitivist contemplation. Both sides are surprisingly enjoyable listening for music this experimental, the hypnotic orchestral-sounding drones of the second piece being especially delightful.
If you’re a fan of the no-wave/primitive/extended music composers of the late ‘70s this is surely something you’ll want to pick up. It’s in an edition of just 300 with lovely silver-on-black screened covers and an insert with photos and Rutman’s own descriptions of the instruments. Super.
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