As explained inside the cover, outwash is material carried away from a glacier by melt water and deposited beyond the moraine. The suggestion of a gathering of bits, collected by a natural force and arranged by chance is a fitting one, as the three improvised pieces parallel natural occurrences, with all the familiarity and unpredictability that implies.
The band is essentially a trio of violin, piano and zither, where the methods of play often obscure the sound sources, or entwine them together in a cloud of harmonics and percussive rattle or buzz. The album is beautifully recorded, and in the quieter moments careful attention reveals clothing rustle and weight shift. This all adds to the intimacy of the music, I get the feeling that the players were seated quite close to each other, having a quiet conversation about serious things. Toward the end of "Glacier" there is a haunting section of ringing buzzing tones engulfed by a huge chordal wash, a beautiful sound assemblage.
"Meltwater" has detuned banjoisms, brittle like frozen nails with slippery string drone and thumping bass clusters. The zither, often played with e- bows and prepared with various objects, gives off swells of feedback-like ringing with changing timbres. Things swell and subside, as with topography, and new chasms open up as if according to some plan. It sounds so natural that these three make it seem easy.
There is something a bit icy about some of the music constructed here, though I'm not sure that the feeling doesn't reside purely within me, suggested perhaps by the title idea. I am reminded of certain foreboding films, but this could just be a case of memory, mind-slapping past correspondences together, and it passes. The final "Moraine" retains a bit of the quotidian, as a far off siren can be heard during a quiet passage, before rattling metal and repeating piano and violin motifs snatch that away and replace it with a dark, cold space. These are the things that the process revealed.
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