March 27, 2007
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. Sheffields 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 CDs 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 Becks 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 woodwinds glottal punctuation and the dictaphones squeezed breaths and whimpers. Pleasures blunt object resonation and chafing textures match Becks 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 Becks 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 Carbonations effervescence comes from Becks skills.
In MusicWorks Issue #97