Never Give Up On The Margins Of Logic
Antioptic AN006/LS002

For Permitted Consumption
L’innomable 04

More dispatches from the electro-acoustic edge of the improv equation, appreciation of these two short CDs depends on your acceptance of pure textural sound unprettified with melody, structure or harmony – sound linked to the mechanism only available in the late 20th and 21st centuries.

With hiss and static counting as much as elaborated tones, one of the most mystifying products of the creation is that the five musicians involved in Sakada produce no more extended nor resonant tones than the two players featured on FOR PERMITTED CONSUMPTION.

Featured on one, almost 34-minute improvisation on that disc are Lisbon-based Margarida Garcia, an electric bassist and Barcelona-based computer feedback manipulator Mattin. Garcia plays with many of Lisbon’s progressive improvisers like guitarist Manuel Mota and violist Ernesto Rodrigues, while Mattin’s playing partners have ranged from Austrian trombonist Radu Malfatti to New Zealand guitarist Dean Roberts.

The Catalan also recorded a duet with British cellist/bassist Mark Wastell playing amplified textures and those three plus AMM percussionist Eddie Prévost and Welsh harpist Rhodri Davies play on NEVER GIVE UP ON THE MARGINS OF LOGIC, recorded a few days earlier than the other session. Compact to the extreme, the mini CD’s one track is barely 17½-minutes long. An earlier full-length CD by the band featured only Mattin, Prévost and Rosy Parlane on computer and radio.

Again the sound isn’t that different. Only occasionally among the accelerating hisses and sideband resonation do you pick out the odd stroke of the drummer’s cymbals and single pizzicato plucks from Garcia. Most of the track is made up of swirling interface cut by crackles, scrapes, gong-like ring modulator thumps and a peculiar buzzing intonation, sort of resembling a dental drill coming into contact with your back molars. Among the intermittent buzzes, oscillating flutters sometime increase in vividness, becoming shriller and more regular. In a performance like this, what appears to be the replication of an instrument being moved and a human coughing takes on as much significance as the other timbres.

Nearly double the length, the other CD apparently adds emissions from internal circuitry and periodic silences to the machine-like textures that make up Mattin’s repertoire. There are buzzes, rumbles, circular saw textures and what could be heard as electricity surging into a lathe or a drill bit hits wood or metal. Hard objects appear to buffet even harder objects, turntable approximation rumble, harsh waveforms pulsate, what could be a zipper movement or the reflection of footfalls appears as does breath pushed through a hollow tube and just-below-hearing-range signal shrills.

As on the other CD, a few textures can be linked to Garcia’s electric double bass. These include string resonation that could almost be a melody, a rasping sul ponticello plink and a disconnected whack that either results from hitting the strings with the heel of her hand or banging the instrument’s wooden belly.

Denser in texture than Sakada’s CD, the impression you take away is of looping and panning textures concentrating into a droning interface and climaxing with shrills from the bass amp and Mattin’s computer.

Picking sonorous textures among the overall pulse can be a good test of your appreciation of this improv subgenre. L’innomable is a label based in Slovenia so may be a bit difficult to access. But those truly involved will investigate both these CDs to measure one of contemporary music’s shapes.

— Ken Waxman

Track Listing: Never: 1. 17:32

Personnel: Never: Rhodri Davies (harp); Margarida Garcia (electric double bass); Eddie Prévost (percussion); Mattin (computer feedback); Mark Wastell (amplified textures)

Track Listing: For: 1. 33.52

Personnel For: Margarida Garcia (electric double bass); Mattin (computer feedback)