Matt Weston – “Seasick Blackout” – 7272 Music
This is not an EP. It’s a three-track, sixteen-minute treasure, filled to the brim with Weston’s signature percussion and electronics. If Tom Waits was an orca (a drunken orca, natch) then he’d make music like “You’re Not That’s Right,” which opens the disc. Off-kilter, sobbing kettle drum noises issue mournful wails amongst the careless clattering of tin. “I Just Saw Fog and Dust” brings us to a clearing in an electronic cuckoo forest, where Weston is a one-man Arkestra. Amazingly, this doesn’t seem too hyperbolic as I listen to it for the umpteenth time today. But really, nothing compares to the final act, which I have described poorly as sounding like an ocean liner AND a freight train capsizing in the Arctic. “This October, All Octobers” is Weston’s opus– an arresting and majestic work of musique concrète that not only evokes nostalgic disaster and sci-fi film, but simultaneously re-awakens listeners to the immense power of sound. Most highly recommended.
Tomoko Sauvage – “Ombrophilia” – and/OAR
I’ve a special love of water music. Recently, I fashioned a weighted multi-ziploc bag enclosure in which to sink my microcassette recorder in the tub. I floated a few Corelle salad dishes about, dripping water inside them, while gently tapping their sides with a pair of homemade superball/chopstick mallets. I ended up with about 10 minutes of ethereal, globular beauty captured roughly in a tiny tape. Turns out that Sauvage did something similar, substituting wooden spoons for my mallets, and hydrophones in place of my sunken tape recorder. I might be a little jealous to find something so close to home making its way to and/OAR, but who wouldn’t be? However, Sauvage has done it properly– exploring many angles of her setup, from a calming refractive series of chimes to a frenetic clashing of dishware; and making a full-length study of the possible sounds that could be achieved. And of course, it all sounds great. Every soft stroke of wood upon porcelain is perfect, and the reflection of sounds from off one another audible as well. Lovely stuff.
Beth Laurin – “1984” – Firework Editions
Here’s a strange one… multi-media artist Beth Laurin curates an assemblage of tape recordings made in 1984, creating low-key creations to no apparent purpose. Occasionally, something drifts out of this slow-motion hodgepodge to get your attention, but mostly, its just one aimless cut after another. “What do you say about eating?” she asks in one track. Later– “This is so dangerous. It could go on forever.” Yeah, it seems that way.