Beck/Drenching/Pleasure

A Low Carbonation
Discus 28 CD By Ken Waxman Taking almost to its limit the recognition that what some define as noise is in reality music, this British trio dispenses with conventional instruments along with conventional harmonies on this CD. Manchester-based T.H.F. Drenching does most of his improvising on dictaphones, while his partner Sonic Pleasure, provides the rhythmic impetus with bricks – weight and number unknown. Sheffield’s Mick Beck moves between strident whistles and the outermost pitches of his bassoon. Overall the microtonal interludes of squeaks, scrapes, crackles and hisses produce an original and perversely fascinating session. In fact, the CD’s only dispensable tracks are four less-the-one-minute lyrical interludes played by Pleasure on flute. Pleasure and Drenching have record earlier sessions with top Brit improvisers like guitarist Derek Bailey, while Beck often plays with drummer Paul Hession. Here Beck’s oral textures that replicate at various times nose blowing, aviary chirping and canine-like expositions empathetically blend with the others’ output. One highpoint is a contrapuntal duet on the final track between the woodwind’s glottal punctuation and the dictaphone’s squeezed breaths and whimpers. Pleasure’s blunt object resonation and chafing textures match Beck’s playing as well. Ironically the low-key atonality from her and Drenching eventually induces listeners to eschew puzzling out the source of the calculated noises. Meanwhile Beck’s instrumental command – which encompasses bubbling lip pops, key percussion and discontinuous split tones – shows that impressive techniques can also be expressed by traditional instruments if not tuning. Overall, most of A Low Carbonation’s effervescence comes from Beck’s skills.