Phill Niblock - Touch Strings (Touch)

on Wednesday, 3 March 2010
This already got itself an honourable mention in my end of year list but yet again i've found myself so completely enscapsulated by it that I feel the need to write again.

Despite being split into 12 sections, the truth is that in fact there are only three pieces here, two of which last around fifty minutes, split into several shorter pieces, normally exactly ten minutes in length and with no noticeable change. I normally hate the idea of super long tracks, pyscological no doubt but all the same they put me off, in this instance Mr Niblock has fooled me and drawn me in like a moth to the light.

Sometimes you just need a simple repetitious cycle of almost nothingness drone, the feeling of almost not being there, an ointment for the overused and over active brain, an equalizing fluid in the form of music, Phill Niblocks Touch Strings is every bit that remedy. Simple and repititious without ever veering towards eerie and every bit as delightful of Saito Koji's Candle on Resting Bell last year.

What Boomkat Said :
His fourth release for the label, Touch Strings is another commanding body of drone works from Phill Niblock, stretching across two discs. The first CD is occupied by the hour-long, six-movement Stosspeng, a composition for electric guitars and basses with a little e-bow intervention to sustain solid tones to avoid any 'artificial' post-processing. The piece is performed by Susan Stenger and Robert Poss who take up a stereo channel each, sounding a chord of three semi-tone intervals in various combinations over a variety of different octaves. As you'd imagine, it's the intensity of the microtones and subtly fluctuating harmonics that gives the composition shape, and it's really something that demands devoted listening to yield the best results. Over on the second CD, the twenty-three minute cello and sine wave piece 'Poure' is first up, capturing thirty-two layers of organic, sustaining tones. There's a fairly subtle dissonance to the composition, which takes its roots in the notes A and D but preserves an atonal quality via Niblock's layered, minuscule deviations from perfect pitch. The remainder of the second disc is taken up by the five-part 'One Large Rose', arguably the most remarkable of the three works compiled here. This is a forty-six minute orchestral piece recorded with the Nelly Boyd Ensemble in real time. It took four uninterrupted takes to get the desired result, but the version that made it to the final release sounds absolutely magisterial, manifesting itself in a powerfully physical way through the speakers, smashing the most clangourously incompatible micro-intervals together. Immensely powerful stuff that makes most drone records sound like kids' stuff. Highly recommended.


destineddecay said...

whats your email address ? Can i send you something?