Franck Vigroux, Elliott Sharp

Hums 2 Terre Signature SIG

About as far away from a standard guitar duo as possible, Hums 2 Terre is a post-modern mash up of timbres, textures and tones stretched to their limits by New York composer Elliott Sharp and French improviser Franck Vigroux. Eschewing formality and melodies, the two frame the 10 sonic duals with minidisks, turntables, computer processing and electronics to trigger warbling pulses and squeaky, pitch-sliding friction.

Sardonically mutating sound samples as well, sampled French and English voices are shaved down to syllabic sound shards. They in turn transform into percussive ostinatos, backdrops for irregular vibrated saxophone trills, piano key fanning or internal string stopping plus guitar flanges that resemble knife-style scrapes or key-strumming harpsichord vamps. In other spots, loops of triggered electronics pulsate and chime until they dissolve into silence. Many tracks postulate a fanciful meeting between sloppy, arena-rock guitar fuzz tones and laboratory-synthesized antiseptic sequenced pulses.

“Sebald” is probably the best example of this interface where crunching, blurry oscillations soon turn into shrilling squeals and squiggles. Reed bites and a sampled Gallic voice provide contrapuntal riffs until every output – including string palm tapping – combines for defining percussion concussions.

By subverting the guitar’s traditional role and expected sounds with add-ons and unexpected techniques, Sharp’s and Vigroux’s binary creations excitingly transfigure their instruments while providing a memorable listening experience.

—Ken Waxman

In MusicWorks Issue #101