By The Waterhole – two

Posted: 25 August 2016 in Albums
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Playdate Records – PDCD008 – 26th August 2016

James Wells

By The Waterhole is the musical vehicle of Eva Pfitzenmaier. And yes, you’ve guessed it: two is her second album under this moniker, and continues her exploration of loop-based improvisational music and poetry.

Instrumentally, two is comparatively sparse for the most part, and centres primarily around soft, natural or acoustic sounds. But she’s not averse to digital technology or synths, and sparse does not mean lacking in texture or variety, and Pfitzenmaier uses the instruments at her disposal to striking effect. Piano and xylophone pair with insistent rhythms and looping, piping, breathy backing vocals. But then again, as on ‘Rolling’, she unleashes some quite animalistic howls and shrieks as a bubbling bass builds; elsewhere, hectic tribal beats thump against many-layered vocals.

With its eerie sonic accompaniment, the spoken-word piece ‘I Fall’ conjures a sense of dislocation as she repeats the contrary refrain ‘I fall because I try so hard not to.’ Naïve rhymes like ‘I want to scratch my knees and be stung by bees’ acquire a dark slant when she lists other desires to self-damage and the words are juxtaposed with bulbous beats and wonky piano. Two is certainly a mixed set, ranging from the delicately melodic to the awkward, disjointed and uncanny, but it’s never for a moment anything less than engaging.


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