AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Mike Bullock – Fermented…Earth/A Cat’s Tiger [shadowselves02]

The single nineteen minute track that makes up this second release from double bassist/sound artist Mike Bullock’s Shadowselves label is something of a paradox: a polyphonic soliloquy.

In addition to playing double bass, Bullock creates sounds with synthesizer, voice and the movement of pens and pencils across paper. Bullock favors an elemental approach to the bass, foregrounding the sounds of its raw materials in action, whether in the form of bowed open strings or the contact of the wood of the bow against the strings’ metal surfaces. Similarly, Bullock’s vocalizations emphasize the grain of the voice unencumbered by language, while his synthesizer whooshes, chirps crackles and buzzes around it. From a quiet opening balanced on the point of a pencil moving vigorously on paper the piece broadens out to a gradually accumulating sound world; the sounds are layered sparingly but with enough interactive mass to create movement and a dynamic relationship among parts. This is one of those intimately-scaled recordings that succeeds in putting the listener on close terms with the instruments and objects creating sounds.

As with the previous issue from Shadowselves, this release comes in a very limited edition of fifteen, with each CDR accompanied by a unique, beautifully-crafted porcelain tile handmade by Bullock and his wife Linda.

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