Collected over a period of ten years, the tracks making up Ingar Zach and Miguel Angel Tolosa’s debut duo release Loner combine percussion with electronics, electric guitar and field recordings. Zach, a native of Oslo now living in Madrid, played free improvisation in different configurations in Norway before moving to Spain, where his developing interests brought him to folk music as well as to more structure forms of experimental music. Composer/sound engineer Tolosa, also based in Madrid, has written spare works for a wide of instruments. Conceptually, he’s interested in the way the listener experiences music as the manifestation of time, and it is this concept that would seem to underlie Loner, the music of which seems designed to embody the drift of time as an unbroken field.
The four tracks share an overall atmosphere that could be described as a kind timbral impressionism conveyed by an enveloping, low key drone. Other sounds emerge and wash into each other; their boundaries are for the most part porous and their shapes soft-edged. At times the more assertive, sharper-edged profiles of metallic percussion or high-frequency electronics push through, but in general this is a textural music the colors of which are drawn from a muted palette.
These two long compositions for electric guitar orchestra by UK composer/guitarist Ian Vine show how mass can be generated from multiplicity. Each work is composed of a given number of separate parts or objects, each of which is made up of a set of notes and is assigned to one guitar (all of which were played by the composer for this recording). Both tracks feature elongated, discordant sonorities that threaten not to resolve, with the second being the darker of the two. The overall profile is dense and drone-like, but even within this density individual parts make themselves heard as if moving between foreground and background as harmonic patterns emerge and disappear, floating in and out of the frame. The length of the pieces facilitates the kind of absorbed listening this kind of music benefits from: After a while the nuanced shifts of harmony and timbre take on an almost dramatic cast.
Frieze/Static Form/Division is composer-guitarist Ian Vine’s tripartite essay into immersive sound for acoustic or electric guitar and electronics. The recording is somewhat deceptive in that what at first appears to the casual listen to be drone music in fact on closer consideration reveals itself to be music of deliberately slow harmonic rhythm. Frieze, the opening track, does indeed begin as a ringing drone, but over the course of its eighteen minutes it develops through gradual changes in color and texture as well as harmonic movement brought about by the backgrounding and foregrounding of different overtones. The rougher-surfaced Static Form follows with melodic movement in slowly descending tones, while the final track, Division, maintains a sense of tension by holding harmonic resolution dramatically in abeyance.