AMN Reviews: Lore – Lore EP (2018; Bandcamp)

Lore’s self-titled EP begins with a drone and evolves in multiple directions from there. The brainchild of Greg Sterland (sax and harmonium) and Hugh Sheehan (diatonic button accordion and electronics), this duo offers three medium-length tracks on their debut.

In addition to the aforementioned drone, the opening track, titled Grind, encompasses button mashing and free improvision. Pierrots and Doves adds melancholy wordless vocals as well as spoken word and sung poetry from Mirva Soininen. The accordion is again used for a baseline drone, while the sax provides snippets of melodies, though these are tempered by the downtempo nature of the piece. Liminal ends the album with wistful, high-pitched cello work from Joasia Cieślak. Subtle electronic processing adds percussive elements before a free-form interlude involving all three players rears its head for a few moments. Throughout, the use of electronics is understated, and often hard to pick out from the acoustically-generated sounds.

The terms “novel” and “unique” get thrown about too liberally when describing creative and avant-garde music. Nonetheless, both of these terms are fitting to describe Lore. Whether it is the unusual choice of instrumentation or the juxtapositioning of spaciousness and indeterminacy, this debut release has much that is new to offer and comes highly recommended.