AMN Reviews: Fred Frith, Sudhu Tewari, Cenk Ergün – Lock Me Up, Lock Me Down (CARRIER054)

LMULMD_digital_cover

Fred Frith is a pioneer of the extended electric guitar. Take a glance at his discography of over four hundred titles and it becomes clear that Frith has successfully inserted himself into an incredibly diverse number of contemporary sound worlds. From bands like Henry Cow, Skeleton Crew and Massacre to improvising with the likes of John Zorn, Anthony Braxton, and Evan Parker to his compositions for electric guitar quartet, the Ensemble Modern, the Arditti Quartet and so much more! 

One of Frith’s many collaborations has been with Sudhu Tewari in the duo Normal. Tewari is a sound artist focused on audio electronics, interactive installations, invented musical instruments and sound sculptures that utilize whatever materials are on hand. They recently presented and discussed a number of their invented instruments at the Center for New Music in San Francisco.

“Lock Me Up, Lock Me Down” is a new release from Fred Frith, Sudhu Tewari and Cenk Ergün. The material for this album was recorded about ten years ago as an improvisation with Frith on guitar, Tewari playing recuperated junk and electronics and Ergün on electronics.  However, this is not an album of a group improvisation. “Lock Me Up, Lock Me Down” is a long form work that uses the original improvised studio material as building blocks for an entirely new piece.

Cenk Ergün is a Turkish American composer/improviser currently based in Berlin. Ergün has written a wide range of acoustic and electronic works. A wonderful album of two of Ergün’s compositions for string quartet performed by the JACK Quartet was released earlier this year. During the lock down Ergün revisited the ten year old session and then went to work. He created a sound library of various samples from the original trio session. The samples range from a second to several minutes. Samples from the library may be heard in their raw form or heavily processed. Ergün used this library to very carefully assemble “Lock Me Up, Lock Me Down”, which combines elements of rock, noise, improvisation, electronic processing and digital studio composition.

Street Piano_photo by Carly McLane

While “Lock Me Up, Lock Me Down” has been divided into seven tracks it really is a continuous forty-four-minute piece. I think it is best to listen to it as a single listening experience. The piece has a mesmerizing almost dream like quality to it.  It’s sounds move from the chaotic and noisy to the lyrical and harmonic, often drifting between multiple textures. There are sections that focus on developing very specific elements from the original session.  For example, the title track is all Frith reassembled by Ergün layering different moments from the original studio session. “Stay Tuned“ features Tewari’s mallet work on his “street piano” accompanied by birds and the occasional passing car interrupted by bursts from the studio session.  The piece ends with “Dem” which focus’s on the final sounds Frith made in the original session. The gentle de-tuned arpeggios from Frith’s guitar unfold at a glacial pace into long sustained chords that slowly transform back into their original form.

“Lock Me Up, Lock Me Down” is a wonderful listen! It successfully combines so many different sonic elements that it is likely to appeal to a very broad range of creative music listeners. Treat your ears and give it a listen.

Highly Recommended!

Chris De Chiara

AMN Reviews: Mauro Sambo – Quel mutamento era il primo di una serie infinita [Plus Timbre PT 043]

A sound collage of understated drama and almost tangible atmosphere, Mauro Sambo’s Quel mutamento era il primo di una serie infinita (“what change was the first in an infinite series”) is a perfectly symmetrical suite made up of twenty parts of two minutes and twenty-three seconds each. Sambo deftly combines and recombines a set of recurring sounds—tolling bells, bits of operatic recordings heard from a distance, hammered metallic sounds reminiscent of a foundry or factory, the low buzz of a bass clarinet—in layers suggesting extension in physical space. The recapitulation of sounds within the suite gives it the feel of an uncannily familiar dream made up of repeating and evolving soft-edged images.

http://www.plustimbre.com/

Daniel Barbiero

AMN Reviews: Paco Rossique – Collages & Dispersions [Linear Obsessional LOR063]

a3524355926_16Collages & Dispersions, a solo recording by Canary Islands pianist and sound artist Paco Rossique, is an atmospheric recording that presents the sonic portrait of an invented, artificially resonant space in which small metal objects are tossed about in a humming wind.

For Rossique, a soundscape is above all a work of imagination midwifed by technological means at the service of a sensitive ear. He deftly layers field recordings, prepared piano and electronic treatments into eight interconnected, timbral compositions that emphasize the contrasts between an intermittent low drone and the sharper-edged sounds of prepared piano and objects. The pieces often feature a counterpoint of electronic washes and clanging metal occasionally giving way to recognizable pitches and tone clusters. The voices of birds and humans appear sporadically, grounding this otherwise otherworldly audio landscape in the concrete sounds of the everyday as filtered through Rossique’s unique sensibility.

This is a sensibility that doesn’t limit itself to the manipulation of sound. The eight tracks are held together in a kind of anti-narrative by virtue of a series of prose poems and visual images, all by Rossique, each one of which is associated with an individual track. These verbal and pictorial tableaux, like their audio counterparts, display a dreamlike logic rooted in the juxtaposition of unlikely elements—a convulsive beauty, as the Surrealists would have it.

http://linearobsessional.bandcamp.com/album/collages-dispersions

Daniel Barbiero