ESPVALL/JAKOBSONS/SZELAG – ‘Improvisations for Strings and Electronics’ CD
Deluxe limited edition. Multi-layered handmade transparent outer-sleeves, lino-block printed envelope. Post-classical/improv. On the aptly titled ‘Improvisations for Strings and Electronics’, Marielle Jakobsons and Agnes Szelag (better known as the experimental duo Myrmyr) team up with cellist Helena Espvall (of acid-folk revivalists Espers) on a series of improvisations for strings and electronics. Recorded in Oakland, CA, Jakobsons (also of Date Palms and Portraits and Darwinsbitch) and Szelag created graphic scores for the occasion. A little while ago Agnes asked me what “bands” I’d compare this album to. I couldn’t think of a single one. Not even the more classically oriented works of someone like Godspeed! You Black Emperor really come close. What did immediately spring to mind were the string quartets of contemporary composers such as Gloria Coates, Morton Feldman, Per Nørgård, and Henryk Górecki. As well, some of the more challenging, discordant and visceral works of Arvo Pärt bear a similarity to the sinuous, winding melodies and stunning tonal landscape created here. Ethereal and rapturous beauty tempered with sinister, creeping danger looming ominously in the shadows.
Babel – ‘Limbus’ CD $9 CAD(World)
Hand-stencilled cloth bags and CD tins, full colour “posterette” insert. Post-classical/noise/post-rock. Inspired by the life cycle of a tree—from seed to discarded newspaper—the Limbus suite sprawls skyward while rooting itself deep in the rocky murk. At times meeting at the crossroads between Labradford, Neubauten, and Philip Glass, harsh bowed electric guitar drives over delicate, leafy arpeggios backed by percussion textures building to a pummeling Taiko-influence cacophony.