Boomkat Product Review:
Techno goes Folkways in Studies I-XVII for Samplers and Percussion; the superb collection of rhythmelodic exercise by London-based artists, Rupert Clervaux and Beatrice Dillon.
Written over ten months in 2013 and now released by Snow Dog Records, it accompanies the duo’s Sequence 1 and experimental work for the Lissom Gallery with a disciplined but playful discourse between manipulated percussion in a tradition spanning ’60s avant-garde thru ’00s minimal techno and the post-dubstep hybrids of Untold.
Drawing on shared, personalised backgrounds in jazz, ethnomusicology, electronic music and field recordings, the LP’s 27 short pieces were written quickly and with a deliberate paucity of effects or computer input, avoiding looping or other short-cuts in order to capture the unstable fidelities which arise from repetitive, improvised performance between live percussions and electronics.
Using the sampler as “a digital mirror of the instrument being manually played” - which is neatly reflected in Anne Tetzlaff’s cover image of a finger reaching to its own reflection - the LP’s magic could be said to lie in the space we perceive between textureality and abstract representation.
Muffled kicks from the studio next door bleed into the recordings, as do a malfunctioning fire alarm in the corridor and the 2nd hand buzz of a snare drum, adding unpredictable dimensions to the duo’s playing much int he same way that road noise would strafe classic Moondog pieces or be detectable in the background of Folkways field recordings.
And, much in the same vein as Folkways records, they may be rooted in academia but, the fluidity and charm of their one-take performances leaves them open to a range of emotional responses and tactile application; try playing along with pots ’n pans while making your tea, or segueing with Skull Disco and AFX’s computer controlled instruments for the craic?!
RIYL The Durian Brothers, Moondog, Konono No.1, Ra.H, Tod Dockstader, Shackleton - highly recommended!