The latest reorganization and redistribution of electroacoustic improv tropes from the consistently fascinating Aural Terrains label finds a quartet of red-taloned sprites traversing blasted landscapes, leaving a broadly splattered residue of sonic detritus in their wake. Iridescent Strand is another in AT main-man Thanos Chrysakis's ever-persistent forays into the netherworlds of arcane texture, surreptitious drone, and choice instrumentation bent into heretofore unnatural and arresting shapes.
The five untitled sections proffer abrupt track outros and are indexed separately, ostensibly for random playback, yet they are all of a single piece, an interconnected suite whose parts import a more visceral power and intensity when experienced as a whole. And the intensity level is there, as are the variegated sounds, smartly-positioned 'movements', and the rest of the telepathic nuance required to keep the attendant squawk, brap, and bleet unified, focused, and inviting to the ears. Chrysakis is a seasoned, old hand at this; it might well be his orchestrations that provide the necessary conductivity to hold his three contributors' sinew in place, but regardless, it's clear this is a group effort. And those contributors aren't exactly novices either. Both Sue Lynch and Joe Wright let their horns rip through the surrounding fug with a vengeance, not in an overtly Coltrane-ian sense but in a manner carefully calculated, prone to stealthily moving about the soundfield, often engulfing Chrysakis's circuit-warped voodoo like obstreperous wraiths. Meanwhile, James O'Sullivan's shredded guitar bits weave and bob, happily channeling the firth of Frith and Elliott Sharp's myriad, boiling entanglements.
Is there a method to all this madness? The ends in this case surely justify the means, and when all is said and done, with music of this stripe that's really all that matters. The requisite 'madness' here lies in the visceral, sharp elbows of the music; spiky, confrontational, and piquant for its breadth, the quartet ingrain their evolving textures with a perfect amount of curatorial grit. There's no doubt that the historical antecedents for Chrysakis and Co. lie in the work of such venerated outfits as AMM and Musica Elettronica Viva, all three sharing a distinct, nearly intuitive ability to cultivate sounds, gestures, and the odd 'silence' to augur furtive environments where sounds intermingle and clash when appropriate. And the various "Strands" on display here all tickle the lobes with great facility. Even when the different sections sound alternatively like a robot being systematically eviscerated, the innards of a spaceship taken apart with childlike glee, or the babbling scree of a thousand cybernetic organisms being birthed through liquid lava tubes, the imaginative performances on display are never less than galvanizing. Supercharged EAI, as fleet as a flyby.
Comments and Feedback: