Finding wholeness as a musician in combination with one or more other musicians can happen if a group finds its pace. Equal parts magic, listening skills, inventiveness, and voodoo, this is something unspoken where, despite maybe being as further situated across a spectrum as two or more instruments multiplied by two or more people can be, unity and consonance ensues. This isn't about knowing the same scales or crafting harmony in the 18th century sense, and may have little to do with pitch, meter, timbre, etc.; any of the latter is an accessory to the hive. (I just now possibly support the vapid catch-all "It has a lot of heart".)
Over the past decade, Tim Olive's 845 Audio label has become an international curation of captivating sonic sculptors. Whether he grows these folks in a garden or relies on acumen acquired during years of looking for like-minded players, Olive's fourteen recorded meetings with fascinating artists such as Anne-F Jacques, Martin Tétreault, Frans de Waard, Jason Kahn, etc. possess aesthetic solidarity and yield unique results.
In the case of Boro, Doreen Girard and Olive's conjoined palette creates a lava flow where arrested violence creeps at a funeral pace without pause.
The press release mentions that the music here is assembled from recordings that were "overlaid and minimally edited", further adding to the question of where Olive begins and Girard ends. Center speaker is Olive's cubby of jagged tings, squeals and ringing, metallic jitters created from a host of objects and guitar pickups. He often leans in to coax electrical pulses, chimes and booms in a style that realizes as arrhythmic and destructive, but...gentle; his miniature squall may only bring cause for alarm to an ant farm. To the right is Girard on prepared tsymbaly, a Hungarian hammered dulcimer that dates back centuries. She spends a good deal of time sustaining a sympathetic drone whose dynamic ebb and flow inspires the above-mentioned comparison — and it's possible her other hand is simultaneously creating the banshee-like groans (rubber dragged across the soundboard?) that whoosh around from time to time. The left speaker is occupied by a revolving sound that can impersonate a simmering pot, smoldering coals, a small conveyer belt, and a few sheets of paper dragged over a piece of wood.
This three-part counterpoint (with occasional sub-branches) mutates, adapts, abandons, and eschews motifs in the micro sense during the 26-minute crawl. Mists of supple pitched feedback periodically touch down; something thin (film tape?) pulled across something else resonates with a light, quivering hum; strings snap with a boing! and shake the items stuffed between them like a rattling signpost. Midway in, Olive and Girard both let out a long roar, and with that, the color shifts, i.e. that simmering pot gets bigger, wider, and less ghostly with the introduction of thudding rhythms and an interpretation of someone furiously scribbling on a desk. Permutations of these literal twists and turns continue until minute 24 where brakes are loosely applied to the mix, unveiling a coda of delicate toy piano-like plinks. This dénouement realizes as if the piece were played in reverse, revealing the original theme in the ultimate minute. Neat.
Girard and Olive were paired based on a recommendation from the organizers of the Sounds Like festival. They recorded what would become Boro the day they met (as in "met for the first time"). And like that, the duo created something that makes me feel as if I'm listening to music for the first time all over again.
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