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Sombras Incendiadas by David Maranha & Helena Espvall
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7/10 Jim 22 January 2015

Here’s a lovely disc of rasping, writhing duets from these violin and cello abusers. It’s hard for a drone recording featuring a violin not to reference Tony Conrad, and there is definitely a nod to his piercing minimalist strains here. But there is a much more improvisatory element at work over the four tracks here as rhythms and harmonic patterns ebb and flow across the resonating expanse of sound. The amplified tone of the instruments means that the huskiness of the bowed textures melds with overdriven valves lending the whole thing a woody knottiness and analogue warmth that is a far cry from a lot of ambient electronic drone stuff. Some of the tremolo effects and modulation trance-outs even hit the same vein of primitive transcendence as Henry Flynt’s hillbilly minimalism.

By the last track it starts to sound a little too noodlesome for me, making me yearn for the pair to reign-in their sound a bit and show a more austere side. A nice listen overall though, especially for lovers of the living drone and ecstatic improvisation.    


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