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2 premium improvisers unite to create wonder. Chris Abrahams is of course the pianist for not-of-this-world Australian trio The Necks, while Burkhard Beins has played leftfield percussion with Keith Rowe, Axel Dörner and Toshimaru Nakamura over the years. The 9 pieces on Instead Of The Sun push into strange and beautiful sonic spaces like few musicians can manage. On Concrete Disc.

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Instead of the Sun by Chris Abrahams & Burkhard Beins
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7/10 Robin Staff review, 24 May 2016

This year, Chris Abrahams has been treating us to his very own episode of ambient Cribs, showing us around his house and each of the nooks and crannies he drones into. ‘Fluid To The Influence’, a record of tinkering field sounds and accidental melodies, sounded like kitchen minimalism prepared for piano and tupperware; his collaborations in improv supergroup the Still was a traditional living-room ambience modelled like a rock band tributing Erik Satie. On this effort, he works with Burkhard Beins, a percussionist with a penchant for the leftfield (check: railing rattling and skittering cricket sounds) to create the sounds his garden makes when he’s tucked away upstairs.

‘Instead of the Sun’ continues Abrahams’ year by sucking all the light out of his lovely compositions and going pitch black: his and Bein’s tones are fuzzy and distorted, wobbling and nauseous, and they’re joined with gentle flickers of noise boards and the kind of rhythmic, muffled half-techno that wears your ears down. Thomas Brinkmann made a record like this in ‘What You Hear (Is What You Hear)’, but where his was a manifestation of pure tone, Abrahams and Beings consistently disrupt proceedings, as on “Second-Hand Ecstasy”, which is a textural calamity of hissing train sounds and flatlining electronic malfunctions -- certain things are scoped loudly in the distance, others act quietly in the foreground, confusing your senses ‘til they’re all worn out.

Listening to this record of crackling electronics is a one-sitting deal: you aren’t gonna be picking out pieces for a quick lunch-break or an ambient mix. Rather, this record is one that kindles and rekindles noise, keeping a constant palette of static and dissonance for more to visit upon. Musique concrete, eh? Sounds like good material to build a patio with.


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