AMN Reviews: C. Reider & C. Hodges – Four Improvisations

C. Reider & C. Hodges: Four Improvisations [open sound group]

This early 2013 offering from the Open Sound Group is, just as its title rather modestly states, four improvisations by sound artists C. Reider and C. Hodges, performed and recorded at various dates between 2010 and 2012. Throughout, Reider and Hodges employ various combinations of electronic and acoustic sound sources to produce soundscapes of a starkly intriguing beauty.

The first track is an entrancing twenty-four minute improvisation of metal (Hodges) and metal and electronics (Reider). Beginning with the shimmer of echoing metallic sounds, it unfolds into washes of electronic tones spreading out in long cycles. As the piece develops, long and short cycles of sound—grounded in echoes and drones—phase in and out. At the heart of it all are the sonic properties of metal as it is struck, scraped and rubbed. Reider and Hodges leave stretches of space between the sounds in order to structure the piece with a resonant, open architecture. Metal serves as the foundation for the third improvisation as well, with Hodges credited with “shake tines” and Reider with “tall tines.” The emergent sound is reminiscent of irregularly struck bells with long decay times and pauses between soundings. The second track, a pulsing, drone-based piece, has Hodges on guitar and Reider on voice and electronics, while the very brief closing improvisation, sounding like the rush of air through a wind tunnel, is wryly credited to Hodges on “ottoman” with Reider “listening.”

This is a deeply absorbing work of nuance and finely-drawn timbral contrast.

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