Max Eastley/Fergus Kelley/Mark Wastell

The Map is not the Territory
Confront core series core 08

There’s a feeling engendered while listening to the eight tracks which make up The Map is not the Territory that the item on hand is an art object not a music CD. Of course music is art, but the sonority seems poised between stasis and progression rather than harmonic evolution from introduction to finale.

This shouldn’t be surprising since two of three participants usually are part of the fine arts museum and gallery scene rather than the gigging musician world. Dublin-based Fergus Kelly, who plays invented instruments, found metals and electronics here, is a sound artist and founder of a local field recordings association with his work used in soundtracks, tape/slide performances, installations and soundworks for radio, and public spaces. More oriented towards music, London’s Max Eastley, who on this disc plays an arc or electro-acoustic monochord, usually combines kinetic sculpture and sound, often from natural environment. He has collaborated though with the likes of Steve Beresford and Axel Dörner. Meanwhile Mark Wastell, who concentrates on tam tam, metal percussion and piano frame, is part of regular groups featuring full-time players such as Rhodri Davies and Graham Halliwell.

In other words, although the overall pace of the CD is leisurely, each player’s textures frequently arise so quickly and speedily blend with those from the others that the culmination mutates into another affiliation. Individual separation is almost futile. For instance following the slowly developing streaming oscillations of understated drones, snoring growls, squishy rubs and clanging that animate the initial tracks, the ghostly “Fossil Embossed Obelisk” highlights blurry communication between repeated tam tam buzzes and suggestions of sea water brushing against the shore. Notwithstanding that, the subsequent textures are cunningly assembled as electronic whirs share space with horizontal splashes and an intimation of tree hanging icicle-like bell reverberations gradually become louder and dissonant on “Seizure of Light”. The two brief concluding tracks, languidly synthesize the preceding timbres with intermittent effort, reaching a final wheeze of dissolving drones.

While unsure if this project is a musical suite or a sound installation, carefully listening could result in auditory allure.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. Tactile Constellations 2. Dredging the Tarry Crux 3. Sway and Tilt 4. Fossil Embossed Obelisk 5. Inverted Gravity 6. Seizure of Light 7. Moonblanched 8. Untethered)

Personnel: Max Eastley (arc or electro-acoustic monochord); Fergus Kelly (invented instruments, found metals, electronics) and Mark Wastell (tam tam, metal percussion, piano frame)