Boomkat Product Review:
Whistling Arrow is the debut collaboration between critically acclaimed composer and performer Laura Cannell, This Heat/Camberwell Now founder and seasoned composer/improviser Charles Hayward, multi-disciplinary musician Andre Bosman, and prepared guitar minimalists Ex-Easter Island Head.
"Brought together by a shared bill on Cannell's Arts Council-funded Modern Ritual tour, the six musicians convened for a single session in Liverpool's Parr Street Studios in 2017. Recording live in the room with few preconceptions and an appreciation of each other's work, the sextet improvised on violins, recorders, drums, piano, electronics, prepared guitars, percussion, and voice. The music of Whistling Arrow represents a deeply empathic meeting of unique musical voices: evoking a musical territory of the ancient and the modern, earthen, and concrete. Laura Cannell's over bow violins wring melodic fragments and modes into groaning chordal shapes, gut-strung, and rapturous; scraping the ground and circling treetops, birdcall double-recorders chirruping in concert. The mallet-struck guitars of Ex-Easter Island Head surge and drift against clouds of overtone-rich amplified strings, excited with motors, Allen keys, and bows, emerging like sun rays through the foliage.
Andre Bosman's marshland electronics permeate with humid unease -- glinting metal half-buried, clandestine cabling in wild country. Charles Hayward's expressive command of rhythm and intricate percussive color moves the music forward in swung leaps and nimble left turns, rolling resonances pushing and pulling the formal anchor of Jonathan Hering's piano into tumultuous terrain and gleaming chord shapes. With sleeve notes by writer and comedian Stewart Lee name-checking Faust, Arvo Pärt, the Velvet Underground, and Hildegard Von Bingen as sonic touchstones, the music of Whistling Arrow draws upon the decades-worth of compositional/improvisational practice of the sextet."