Another split 12” from the First Terrace label. This one here features improvisations from the fresh and adventurous trio of Adrian Northover, Anna Homler and Dave Tucker on the one side, and a Pierre Bastien piece for Cabo San Roque’s massive orchestra of mechanical machines. Very varied material here then, but see if you can draw some links between these two fine sides eh?
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Alex Ives’ First Terrace records is finding a fantastic identity for itself right now, growing up into a fine label with collaborations and cross-examinations that remind me of ol’ FRKWYS. Their latest experimental split brings together music builder Pierre Bastien with Cabo san Roque -- and on the flip it’s Anna Homler, Adrian Northover and Dave Tucker, all improvising in that most typical of avant-garde things: a trio.
I’ve gotta say, this Bastien piece is absolutely blowing me away. He’s working over a mechanical sound sculpture located in Barcelona with the help of his good friend the Casio, while group Cabo san Roque serve as a backing band -- or just recording buds -- for the whole thing. The mellifluous sounds made are absolutely breathtaking, involving tome-dusting organ, plucked strings, incidental percussion and whirring environmental sounds. Woodwinds play thematic melodies in the background; rhythms occur almost by incident, at points, the tune coming out of thrilling passages into musique concrete lullaby. It’s a marvellous journey and one of my favourite ‘ambient’ pieces in a good season or two.
As is the usual order of the day for First Terrace, the flip side does little to appease what’s come before, our b-team trio offering a brilliant collaboration that speaks for itself. The instrumentation is, again, quite beautiful, with woodwind breaths and overtones matching up to eachother gorgeously over the top of abstracted basslines, screeching contact sound and the spectral utterances of Anna Homler. Their free jazz remains largely restrained and insular, moving in rather than out, but the finale is a gorgeous, nearly smooth climax in which acoustic strums are introduced, mingling with their discordance as if it made sense all along. Maybe it did, I can't tell anymore. This record is half a dozen people at the top of their game so who am I to know a thing?
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- FTS003 by Pierre Bastien & Cabo San Roque / Anna Homler, Adrian Northover, Dave Tucker
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