The people of Winchester don’t get masses of opportunities to see experimental music, but the occasional series of ‘Ology’ gigs make up for that by being extremely high calibre. This Dendrology CDr showcases one of those great line-ups, with Robert Curvengen, Plurals, Jennifer Allum and Stereocilia.
7/10 Robin Staff review, 28 April 2015
The Ologies is their name, and though it sounds like an academically-minded kids TV show whose key demo is overachievers, it’s actually a group of like-minded musical types from Winchester, aiming to procure compelling experimental performances in small middle England. Sounds a bit like some excited people we know who love to scream the word “Shipley!!!” very loudly, and ‘Dendrology’ is proof of another pocket of abstract enthusiasts. ‘Dendrology’ showcases the dark ambient and avant-garde crews who graced the city last November.
Robert Curgenven is up first on this sampler, and his piece is a hands-off serving of ambient, swirling with little spots of ambience before stepping into a gentle wash of noise that sits between tape hiss and torrential rain. After a minute or two of this blissful haze, he refrains with a halt. Next up is Jennifer Allum, whose striking improvisational compositions run through violin motifs like they’re swiping them out of the way, seeking new melodies as course-corrections.
Stereocilia reels things back, creating a meditative ambient piece based around guitar and loops -- a sparsity and purity that bleeds beautifully into the work of Brighton’s Plurals, whose consuming drone is based on slow climaxes of tone, taking a sustained note and slowly building around the edges of it, high-frequency noise filtering in without deviating the group from their epicentre. Put all of it together and you've got proof that experimental music can be frightening, soothing and everything in between. Someone in Winchester needed that proof.
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