Boomkat Product Review:
Collectively known as The Scotch Of St. James, this improvising duo recorded a wonderful set at Berlin's Amplify festival some five years ago, released initially the following year on the Confront label. Tim Barnes, well known for his collaborations with avant-garde luminaries such as Sonic Youth pairs up with one of London's leading exponents of abstract improv, Mark Wastell, combining for an album that might superficially be termed minimalism, although just plain 'quiet' might be a more accurate assessment. Although the patient, low-profile timbres of this album are stealthy to say the least, close listening reveals boundless levels of detail and variety. Barnes plays prepared snare drum and amplification, while Wastell opts for tuned metal and "amplified textures" - presumably meaning there's a certain amount of contact micing or extreme close-up recording taking place. In keeping with this, the performance feels like it's been conceived under a microscope, full of minuscule, yet highly detailed and tactile components, hardly offering the most conventional palette of sounds, although there's an incredible level of immersion here. Despite the quiet dynamics, by turns you'll think you're listening to a spitting wood fire, Tibetan prayer bowls or fizzing electricity - it's quite a listen. Highly recommended.
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