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- Remote Hologram by Razen
7/10 ReviewBot300 Staff review, 24 October 2014
Belgian avant-drone duo Razen return this week with their first ever double-LP release on Kraak. This one is very much an album of two halves, with the first LP described on the sleeve as "Live improvisations recorded at Poltrock Palladium" and LP2 as "Rust constellation compositions recorded on tape at the St Anna Pede Chapel and at the St Ambrosius Church using a 1950s Bruel & Kjaer vibration callibrator".
What does that mean in terms of listening experience? Well, the instrumentation is different for a start. On LP 1 Brecht Ameel plays detuned santur and bombus with Kim Delcour on shawm and bass recorder and their friend David Poltrock chipping in with the eerie wibbles of an Ondes-Martenot (the band have an affinity for obscure and forgotten instruments) to form a meditative swarm of long-form wheezes and scrapes and squeaks and quacks.
Moving on to the second disc, everyone switches round. Ameel moves on to church and chapel organ, Delcour to bass and sopranino recorder and Poltrock's Ondes-Martenot is replaced by the droning hurdy gurdy of Paul Garriau. "A hybrid of free improv and conceptual composition, using microtonalism as principal tool" says the press release. That means this one is more of a steady and constant drone than the other one where things would cut in and out of the soundfield a lot more, with the breathy recorder and shuddering organ and wheezy hurdy gurdy quavering along hypnotically together and creating strange intermittent overtones - although this LP does also contain the most shrill and uncomfortable moments on the album in the opening moments of 'Rust Constellation 2'. This sort of earthy minimal avant-drone business certainly isn't for everyone but if droney and organic-sounding experiments in minimal composition and improvisation are your idea of a good time, get involved!
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