Dag Rosenqvist has been something of a serial collaborator over the years, but has recently reverted to droning under his own name. Vowels was made to accompany a contemporary dance performance, but holds onto its power even when played alone. Released as a very fetching clear vinyl LP in a limited edition, on the memorably titled Awkward Formats imprint.
8/10 Robin Staff review, 17 November 2015
You’re going to hear a lot of preposterous things about contemporary dance, but Dan Rosenqvist’s new record isn’t much to dance to; rather, these pieces -- made with a particular choreography in mind, performed by dance group the Iraqi Bodies -- are fatiguing minimal drones that wash comfortably into the backdrop. Opening with a slowly enveloping ambient piece that moves from vacuum cleaner white noise to properly ecstatic sustained drone a la Siavash Amini, ‘Vowels’ is danceable only in the same way trees sway.
Rosenqvist has collaborated with anyone who could, when no one’s looking, be termed “experimental”, from violin droner Aaron Martin to shoegaze alum Simon Scott. On his own, though, Rosenqvist’s music buoys an impressive singularity -- his compositions are minimalist, slowly increasing loudness and introducing mere hints of melody to his straight line drones. There aren’t many surprises on ‘Vowels’, but Rosenqvist’s works constantly boil over, intensifying through an expansion of textures (as on “II”) or just a tweaking of the volume knob.
This simple approach to experimentation doesn’t make Rosenqvist any less exciting to listen to: on “III” he breaks from quiet recorded fumblings to scorch the earth with harsh, ever-intensifying noise, recalling the pastoral rapture of Tegh & Kamyar Tavakoli’s record, but with less hint of landscape. This is noisy stuff, and though you always know how it’s going to play out, it’s still a world worth getting lost in.
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- Vowels by Dag Rosenqvist
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