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on (sylvain chauveau / steven hess) - Something That Has Form And Something That Does Not
Regrouping for a third album under their 'On' moniker, Steven Hess and Sylvain Chaveau have created another body of chilling improvised recordings at their Chicago studio. As with previous records the results were passed to a guest musician for rearrangement of perspective and mixing techniques. Following Deathprod's work on 'Your Naked Ghost...', the material for this album was handed to experimental virtuoso Christian Fennesz, who transforms the source sounds into a display of stripped, yet richly textured drone ambience. However, unlike the dense scapes of Helge Sten's rework, Fennesz deftly treats the sounds with a light and effervescent touch, rendering the inherent crackles and surface disturbances into a gentle topography of blissfully dissipating sonics. The trio of collaborators have developed a working relationship since performing as a trio in 2004, which possibly explains the innately tactile understanding of their material by Fennesz, from the choral dissonance of opener the 'Inconsolable Polymath' to the plaintive use of Hess's slow percussion and muted blue keys in the title track, allowing each element to contract and expand with an intuitively organic evolution, especially on final track 'The Sound Of White'. This 20 minute closer could be counted among his finest compositions, layering Chaveau's prepared guitar into drifting glassy harmonics with near subliminal surges in volume drawing the ear to background crackles and tender amp hum for an engrossing uneasy listen.