Posts Tagged ‘The Bit’

Gizeh Records – August 28th 2020 – GZH98

Christopher Nosnibor

Three years on from Noplace, the unassuming supergroup known only by their actual names, comprising Aidan Baker (Nadja / Hypnodrone Ensemble), Simon Goff (Jóhann Johannsson / Hildur Gudnadottir) and Thor Harris (Swans, Shearwater, Thor & Friends) reconvene for a second instalment of improvisational work created in just a single day. On this occasion, they took advantage of a day off while on tour to record at Voxton Studios in Berlin

The Bit is an edited rendition of that session.

According to the press release, ‘The Bit finds the trio painting with a lighter touch than on its predecessor. Thor Harris’ motorik beats still underpin the music but the atmospherics take a more prominent role and there is a pure and cohesive path to be found throughout the record. Much like on Noplace, Baker’s guitar and Goff’s violin weave together beautifully, forming a deep bed of melody, ambience and reverb.’

There’s an equine theme to many of the titles, specifically ‘The Bit’, ‘Canter’ and ‘Gait’, but the loping drums and slow-moving ambient drone that defines the sound isn’t particularly evocative of the theme.

Of the six real-time compositions, the first five are quite succinct, around the three or four-minute mark, with only ‘Gait’ – a sparse, minimal piece that slowly throbs and pulsates while feathery notes drift down gently in a wide space – drawing out past seven minutes.

‘Springenden’ is a beautifully detailed piece, ostensibly a modern classical work consisting of rippling piano, quavering strings and a soft background wash of synth, which prefaces the twenty-two-minute finale, ‘Wild At Heart’. It’s essentially an expansive ambient work, which whispers, wisps and turns with an understated grace, twisting and turning as a slow beat booms into the rarefied atmosphere. It’s an expansive, exploratory piece that’s murky, ominous, and suspenseful. And the thing about suspense is that you never know what’s around the corner. There is no revelation in the rumbling low tones and wailing, dawning drones that emerge and taper down during this longform piece which descends to distortion and dissonance as the sound thickens and grows grainier. It’s a gradual dilapidation and makes for an intriguing and subtle listening experience.

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