HERVE BOGHOSSIAN / JOHN TILBURY / MARK WASTELL – Archi.Texture Vol. 1

(Cathnor)

The concept behind this release is quite linear: three segments, about 20 minutes each, in which Hervé Boghossian altered via computer the sound of John Tilbury’s piano and Mark Wastell’s cello, first working on the single parts then merging the two tracks in a final virtual investigation of the resulting reciprocities. It’s an intriguing record who will displace many of those – like yours truly – who had thought about some sort of study in crepuscular silence. What’s immediately noticeable is instead the severe coldness of the whole, as the protagonists express themselves within opposite ranges: Tilbury never departing from a rumbling cascade of low-note arpeggios, Wastell sporting an impregnable defense that prevents any “sweet spot” from being individuated in a very harsh melange of squealing and hissing high frequencies. In both instances, Boghossian manages to chip off selected harmonics that keep hovering around the room even at very low volume, just as curious butterflies could remain fluttering near a high-tech incinerator; this choice of glimmering confinement within well defined limits of the audio spectrum seems to be Boghossian’s favourite (…only?) exploratory field throughout the CD. On a more vulgar level, Tilbury’s boiling rolls on the piano keyboard involuntarily recall, for a few moments, Rick Wright’s “Sisyphus” on Pink Floyd’s “Ummagumma” but, strangely enough, also elicit wobbling reverberations similar to Wastell’s tam tam’s in his “Vibra” albums, especially – again – at low listening level; incidentally, speakers are absolutely a must for this release. No headphones! In his solo section, Wastell’s cello depicts an X-rayed Tony Conrad surrounded by tear gas while fighting a silent guerilla of high-pitched unanswered questions. That said, the final track is obviously the most satisfactory on a sheer ear-pleasure level, the main reason being the acquired interiorization of the single elements, explicated through a hermetic system of contrasting waves and vibrations. Nothing truly groundbreaking here, but everything works fine for my taste.

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