AMN Reviews: Sound Collision Alliance – 53:38

Sound Collision Alliance: 53:38 [pyr057]

This first release by the Sound Collision Alliance features nearly an hour of sound set down during a session lasting six hours. The group, made up of composer-instrumentalists Darren Bartolo (guzheng), Sam Krahn (electric guitar) and Sarah Ritch (electric guitar, cello and laptop), was formed in order to experiment with sounds and forms outside of the strictures of Western classical traditions. Although the focus of these improvisations is predominantly on texture and sound manipulation, the musicians’ backgrounds come through in the intuited, largely rhythmic structures that give these four tracks a certain sense of internal cohesion.

The first track, named as are all the others for its duration, sets an overall minor-mode harmonic flavor within a framework of irregular pulses that move in and out of phase; the piece develops through rhythmic variations within repetitions, building in intensity until it unspools into a slow, regular throb. The second track foregrounds the rich timbres of the strings, notably a looped cello and the guzheng played over regular rhythms on guitar, culminating in the thick sound of a distorted electric guitar. The sparse third track starts largely as a duet for guzheng and electric guitar, before becoming more active and developing into a stretch of electronics and struck strings. The final and most condensed track moves over an urgently rapid pulse and explores a sound world surprisingly reminiscent of early Velvet Underground.