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arne deforce & mika vainio - Hephaestus
Unparalleled cello virtuoso Arne Deforce forges a compelling and convincing union with Mika Vainio in the often jaw-dropping 'Hephaestus', their only recording together, made in December 2011 at Vorhuit, Ghent. Taking its mantle from the Greek and Roman god of fire (celestial blacksmith; craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes - an all round stand-up guy), they pull no punches with a crushing display of instrumental and electronic might worthy of such lofty allusions. To be fair they could have called it 'Gary' and there'd be no less gravity to proceedings; 40 minutes breaking down to six stages symbolic of physical, emotional and psychological states. The two play with such conviction and spirit-wrenching synergy that it's almost hard to separate their input - from the shearing opener 'Phlegethon (Stream Of Fire)' to the blackened drone of 'Elysium (Fields of Relief)' they operate as one hulking, twisting mass of tonal dynamic and radiant discord, shapeshifting from cavernous gloom to extremely fragile, introspective minimalism and the kind of tectonic torque that makes most other musics seem trite and indulgent by comparison. Seriously, They are a force to be reckoned with. RIYL Iancu Dumitrescu, Okkyung Lee, Emptyset, Stephen O'Malley, Pan Sonic.