Occasional moments of energetic activity seem to emerge, particularly from Harries's bass, yet these become more like pulsations, almost machine-like (while I first listened to the album, a rather annoying farmer took it upon himself to start some agricultural activity or other in the field behind my house – the sound of his machinery initially jarred, but managed to become integrated into the music … a weird synchronicity, indeed). The bass supplies lyrical moments, slightly "jazzy" (whatever that means … but I'm guessing you have an idea), and drones of sorts, underpinning the abstract sounds that float around it.
The extent to which any concept of "structure" can
be applied is debateable, as these pieces have the feeling of mood-capturing
improvisations rather than strict compositions. It isn't strictly definable in
terms of genre, either: jazz-people (for they have only stupid names … I'm not
writing "jazzers", damn it …) won't hear this as jazz, and
ambient-people (seriously … what could we call these folk? Ambient Heads?
Ectoplasms?) will not assume this to be a part of their world, either. Which
leaves the album in the province of the music fan who dispenses with
pigeonholes and enjoys music for what it is, not what it's classified as. And that, dear friends, is a damn fine thing indeed.
This marks out a duo worth paying close attention to, and their eponymous debut sets up a manifesto for future explorations that could easily incorporate guests without compromising their vision. It would be straightforward to imagine a guest trumpet here, a guitar there, the occasional saxophone - or even a zither, for that matter. The formula is a good one, and can be sustained indefinitely in pure duo and expanded formats.
This dark, ethereal, looming, sometimes raw and disconcerting, yet beautiful record also marks out yet another superb release for Optical Substance Productions. The catalogue thus far (which includes Skyggespill, reviewed last year by Ruben) is proving to be one that has its own personality already, which is quite an achievement given that the catalogue consists of a mere 6 albums. Huzzah to Kjetil Husebø for that.