March 23, 2009
Robin Hayward-Annette Krebs
Unconventional textures become normative and acknowledged in this fascinating essay in dual improv exploration from British tubaist Robin Hayward and German table-top guitarist Annette Krebs who also manipulates objects, a mixing deck and tapes.
Within self-defined parameters and over the course of four lengthy tracks, the two confound instrumental recognition with extended techniques. Snippets of garbled pre-recorded voices, crackling and buzzing oscillations and the occasional string thump define Krebs’ contributions. Yet no creation would be complete without the wet burbling, rotating valve pressure, and air redirection from Hayward’s instrument, reconfigured with clipped-on valve caps plus blocked tube apertures, and often played using circular breathing.
Merging foreground and background sounds into a crepuscular opaqueness, these microtonal improvisations proceed in minute strokes with timbres that resemble dog yelps, bloated air leaking from a balloon or what could be caused by scraping metal against the recording mikes. Intermingled are split-second bursts of radio sounds, silences, buzzing drones and choked hisses. Any time the air leakage accelerates to fortissimo cascades it’s then splintered into sound fragments as tiny as the circumcised syllables of the sampled radio voices. Alternately, should undefined, motor-driven pulses threaten to upset the balanced resonance, connective tuba lines or blustery brass ejaculations assert themselves to break up the dense mass into manageable sonic particles.
“Please play at a quiet volume” are the instruction on the back cover of the CD package. More sagely, dedicated auditors can gain something from the set by careful listening at any volume.
— Ken Waxman
— MusicWorks Issue #103