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Keith Rowe / Alfredo Costa Monteiro / Ilia Belorukov / Kurt Liedwart
MIKROTON CD 32 | 2014

Edition of 300.



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1. Two (R+CM)
2. Four (R+CM+B+L)

Keith Rowe guitar, electronics
Alfredo Costa Monteiro accordion, objects
Ilia Belorukov alto saxophone, objects, ipod, mini-subwoofer, mini-speaker
Kurt Liedwart objects, electronics

Weird recording for Mikroton featuring a duo recording of Keith Rowe and Alfredo Costa Monteiro and a quartet recording of them with Ilia Belorukov and Kurt Liedwart, two recordings made at the same day at spina!studio in St. Petersburg during Teni Zvuka 2013 festival.

Keith Rowe is mainly known as the pivotal and crucial musician standing in the forefront of the first wave of the European free improvisation, co-founder of AMM in 1965 and inventor of tabletop guitar playing techniques which remained his central sound tool until now and which he extended with a lot of electronic and other gadgets and devices. It’s his third release on our label following “Shifting Currents” with Bill Thompson and Rick Reed and his composition “A Quartet For Guitars” performed last winter in 2013 with his Nantes colleagues Emmanuel Leduc, Anthony Taillard and Julien Ottavi, the quartet which is known as NG4 Quartet.

Alfredo Costa Monteiro is a musician with almost the same biographical details which you find in Rowe’s, both studied art and unexpectedly moved to music and sound art worlds. He’s mainly interested in unstable processes and raw gestures, often manipulating objects as instruments and instruments as objects what you actually hear in his playing manner of accordion here. He works in other projects like Cremaster with Ferran Fages, I Treni Inerti, Astero and 300 Basses.

Ilia Belorukov hails from St. Petersburg and works mainly with prepared saxophone in the field of improvised, noise and electroacoustic music. He’s a member of different projects like Wozzeck, Wooden Plants and others. He practices an experimental approach of sound extraction on alto saxophone and uses laptop, electric guitar, drums and other instruments. He also runs our partner Intonema label and organizes with us Teni Zvuka festival in St. Petersburg and Moscow.

In 2009 he joined his forces with Kurt Liedwart, a Moscow-based musician and curator of Mikroton Recordings and organizer of Teni Zvuka festival. When the duo started Liedwart was using only sinewaves and field recordings adding more sounds and noises with time. Liedwart works mainly with computer, electronics, synthesizer and objects, sometimes deleting the line separating concerts from performances or installations, at the same time he’s active in the fields of electroacoustic improvisation and sound art.

In 2013 Kurt Liedwart with Ilia Belorukov decided to invite Keith Rowe and Alfredo Costa Monteiro to the 4th edition of Teni Zvuka festival. It was the first time when they played at the festival’s recording sessions together in duo and in quartet with Ilia Belorukov and Kurt Liedwart. Their duo recording forms an exchange of personal experiences that bring the music into rather dry territories, with an acute sense of musicality. They conjured a unique sound world with accordion and prepared guitar, combining different sound qualities at the same moment. The quartet recording goes even beyond prevalent methodologies of working with sound, unpushingly pushing the sound around and violating many rules of the nowadays improvisation.


The Sound Projector, Thomas Shrubsole:
Once more I’ve probably spent longer than necessary waffling on, so I’ll offer a quick précis for the impatient or sensible: some quiet sounds, pretty low key, fairly neutral. For those who want to read that extended by a thousand words or so, read on:
Contents: One CD, two extended ‘pieces’. Although, whether they are pieces, as such, with a pre-determined beginning and end, an allotted span, or even extended – they may just as well be snipped down from longer actions – is not clear. Nothing is clear, actually. And yet, everything is clear, very sober and lucid. Once you turn the volume up. Yes, keynotes for this release can include:
Clarity: of recording.
Quiet: volume.
Dry: tone, sounds, execution.
Professionalism: of delivery, craft, craftsmanship.
Small: gestures
Long: duration.
of means and expression
Enough, well, it’s enough for them at least, presumably, and no more.
Close-up electric stubbles of sound bristled together in a room, not overly concerned in the direction of grand gestures. The first track is a duet between Rowe and Costa Monteiro whereas the second track involves the whole quartet.
Pretty lower-case, overall: a wheeze here, sliding stretches, creaking, and dry, solid sounds combined with thin electroacoustic shavings and metal rustlings. Radio crackle. String scrapes, micro-sawing, shifting, filing, re-arranging… A low-noise, pin-prickle-scratch sharp-focus table-rapping microphone-knocking pair of things.
Yes, it’s quiet, yes, in the grand scheme of things not a lot really happens, not a lot happens (necessarily) with a wall, though, but there’s texture and there’s presence of some sort. Along the planes of these pieces, alongside the mostly rectangular construction, there are a lot of faintly mystifying, dry and yet modestly engaging palette-scrapes of object-derived sound-tint.
Grumbling cardboard bass blots and rumbles from a box. Mosquito tones (but of course), knee-knocked tables. A classicist relish, a moderate relish: dropped marbles. Apportioned, measured with a sober embrace of plain and small sounds and their economical distribution (amplitudinally and temporally).
Not puritan, not rapacious, this inhabits some other middle ground, or unrelated ground, a moderation of sound without dogmatism, seemingly arrived at, intuited or agreed on, by all players, rather than as a consequence of paucity of ideas or tentativeness in expression (There’s room for relatively garrulous outbursts, for example the iPod and subwoofer interjections in the quartet track are not censured, nor, however, do they permanently alter the composure or focus of the proceedings. They just happen.) No, tentativeness is definitely not an impression to take from this, especially from Rowe’s contribution, his precise and economical deployment of movements to release sound from his tools exudes focus and his (totemic? In a sense, perhaps, but more so a quietly active, performing) presence seems to confer and amplify a collective focus. The character of the recording, of the document, is equally focussed and precise. Spare. But also made up of spare parts, of ‘objects’. Distinct – everyday objects and instruments with gaps between them, sounds with gaps, too; space to spare.
As it happens I was not averse to hearing the CD a good few times. My main motivation for the multiple auditions was reviewing purposes rather than major hedonism or passionately abandoned enjoyment but maybe as it is so neutral and moderate those numerous listens never felt like too oppressive or demanding a proposition. Ok, a proportion of those times I was also maybe straining to hear it over other domestic and environmental noises; it’s not THAT quiet, as these things go, not enough for it to really be a thing, quiet music, or rather an extreme thing, there are no real extremes here; the contour lines on this landscape are, however, quite widely spaced, barely perceptible as changes in elevation from above on this flat, laminal landscape. As well as the birds eye view ground level detail counts here, too, a fact borne out by the fascinated cover photos of Rowe’s hand and Belarukov’s (I’m assuming from the presence of the ‘mini-speaker’) sound producing objects. Turn the volume dial (what a cliché with quieter music. Why isn’t it louder to begin with, then, you might wonder, when someone writes or utters that phrase?) and the topography acquires a measure of relief; contrast between sound sources becomes more apparent. Tight-focus as it is, the incidental luxury of texture, relative harmonic variety, is more available with attentive listening and amplification.
In the species of electro-acoustic music on show here as well as your by-now-classicised (calcified?) moves such as high-frequency electronic tones, non-playing of instruments (i.e. pumping of air without playing notes on the accordion, scraping the saxophone), the human genesis of the sounds, the everyday, is ever-present, perceptible; both micro and 1:1 scale events accumulate; between this person-sized puttering and the abstracted textural sonic juxtapositions there is the flickering challenge to perceive in multiple ways at once, to be aware of both the basic building materials and of the whole, to walk round a sculpture, regard a painting. To engage and regard as abstract, abstracted ‘music’, whilst also simultaneously hearing document, agency, origin, familiarity, specificity. Something that probably happens intuitively whilst listening to music usually, this process is perhaps more exposed and perilous with this relatively severely reduced and minimised collections of sounds and gestures. Sounds at once untethered and tied to people and (small, small) movements and space. This is still, overall, very much the sound of four people puttering about with some tables and some bits and bobs, avoiding on the whole making assertive sounds, but the manner of puttering adds definite shape and tone, is on the whole determined and deliberate without being clinical or cold, certainly proceeds at a measured pace indicative of concentration, imbues the pieces with specific shape, space, tone and mood which is alert and reasonably approachable.
This shape and tone can resemble a rarefied/reduced/democratised species of chamber music, in a way; the intimate focus, hushed mood, a small ensemble. No classical affect or tropes exist here – perhaps one or two of small music or electro-acoustic music do, though. A pervading suppleness and openness keeps this comfortably away from zones of tedium or lassitude, or from being po-faced, the more giddy and defined interjections like the muted sub-woofer rumbles (courtesy of Belarukov, I think) and metronome in the quartet track help mean no-one could be accused of fundamentalism or exerting too-tight a grip on proceedings. No one would probably characterise this as exuberant or a laugh a minute; My feeling is that Rowe does add some heft, but leads, perhaps unconsciously, by example rather than force and the consequent breathing space permitted all players is to everyone’s advantage, and although resulting in some odd lumps it at least keeps things fresh and fairly portable.
What it all adds up to, apart from its specific formal and tonal qualities, is anyone’s guess. Rather than speculate, you might as well listen, if you fancied some small lower case improv with no overt agenda or direction. Maybe just as the cover suggests, this is essentially a snapshot of a meeting, the session that took place. The importance attributed to it by its participants, their thoughts on it as a recorded release, the reasons it exists in the form it does, is never specified. Taking into account its standardised production values, shared with many ‘essential’ (in marketing speak) releases it is perhaps refreshingly inessential, even on multiple listens it remains so, it doesn’t become more or less significant. Yet it is ‘essential’, sound-wise, or of its essences, if you get my drift. The materiality of it, the less than monumental nature, the attention to surface, the aura of relaxed focus and tempered exploration distinguish it, at a micro-level, horizontally, from other releases in the happily, self-sufficiently proliferating, self-regenerating, field of scraping things, not playing notes on your instrument and occasional crackles.

JazzWord, Ken Waxman:
Far out literally, to the extent that the nucleus of contemporary music isn’t Russia; and sonically, since the four players involved work on the periphery of electro-acoustics; these densely programmed discs offer insight into unique post-instrumental improvisations, with a total of four tracks that are almost relaxing in their formlessness.
Recorded two days apart in St. Petersburg, the sessions resulted after local Ilia Belorukov, who plays prepared saxophone, and Moscow-based electronics manipulator Kurt Liedwart invited British guitarist Keith Rowe and Barcelona-based microtonal accordionist Alfredo Costa Monteiro to participate in some Russian gigs. Contour’s second track feature the interaction of all four, both Tri tracks involve Belorukov, Liedwart and Rowe; whereas only Rowe and Costa Monteiro on featured on Contour’s aptly named “Two”.
At the risk of drawing brickbats, numbers don’t much matter here, since the sounds generated don’t differentiate much among duo, trio or quartet formations. On their own, for instance, the two non-Russians’ interface is only distinguished by happenstance and/or stylized wave forms and perhaps the movement of thickened objects that give “two” more of a percussive undercurrent than the other tracks.
Two days later when the quartet convened on “Four”, the additional tremolo functions from Costa Monteiro’s instrument appear to inject more organic animation into the shuddering drone that characterized all these electronic synapses outputting at once. With the sonic picture still as calmly mesmerizing as on other tracks, the intensity is lessened with scrubs, pops and swizzle which are not signal processed, yet can’t be attributed to any particular instrument. Reaching an earlier, more pronounced climax, the rugged oscillations that underline “Four”, meet contrapuntal interference from sharpened reed blows, intermittent beeps like a computer system rebooting and a collection of undefined noises resembling stomach growls and dog yelps. Even more instructive, the protracted conclusion moves on from what could be paper being crumbled for a finale that’s equal parts rushing wave forms, reed smears and percussion thumps.
Although not as difficult to fathom as Russia’s foreign policy, the two CDs aren’t designed to be pleasant background sounds. Acceptance of harsh timbres alongside unending drones is a necessity; as is staying away from a demand for melody or harmonies. That said, these sorts of performances have become an important part of 21st music in many countries – east and west – and deserve investigation by the adventurous.

Just Outside, Brian Olewnick:
No need for much procedural analysis of this one, just an hour’s worth of your plain, old-fashioned improv gathering with Rowe (guitar, electronics), Costa Monteiro (accordeon, objects), Belarukov (alto saxophone, objects, ipod, mini-subwoofer, mini-speaker) and Liedwart (objects, electronics). IT’s all very subdued and all quite good really, Belarukov once again impressive in his reticence while still often using pure tones, no mean feat. Though I may be mixing him up here with Costa Monteiro if the latter is occasionally summoning similarly pure tones from his squeezebox. No matter, ore to the point that each of the two tracks breathes freely, stretches out quite ably. One notices, after dealing with the guitar quartet release that that one dealt pretty much in short phrases while this is about long-held sounds, much to its benefit. One wonders about similarly “awkward” playing using this formation, if it’s more difficult to “underwhelm” in a more stasis-prone environment. Whatever, it’s an excellent set, focussed and considered, working up to a subtly exciting rumble towards its conclusion. Well worth hearing.

Vital Weekly, Frans de Waard:
Moscow’s Mikroton label specializes in improvised music, and label boss Kurt Liedwart is sometimes an active musical force himself; also the name Keith Rowe seems to pop up on various releases. Here Liedwart plays objects and electronics, Rowe plays guitar and electronics, and on April 29, 2013, they met up at the Spinalstudio in St-Petersburg with Alfredo Costa Monteiro (accordion, objects) and Ilia Belorukov (alto saxophone, objects, ipod, mini-subwoofer, mini-speaker). They did recordings, which Belorukov mixed together into two pieces, one of twenty-four minutes, and one that last almost thirty-six. This is of course improvisation with the big ‘I’. It’s a very ‘concrete’ album, despite various players having electronic tools at their disposal. It’s also a quite a ‘silent’ album, with lots of stuff happening in ‘between’ the silence and vice versa. There is a lot of intense, careful interaction between these players, leaving room for the others to play, and not wanting to be heard all the time. The first piece is just Rowe and Costa Monteiro, while the four of them play on the other piece; it doesn’t seem to make much difference. Like with much of the improvised music, you could wonder if it all has to be released on a disc. Probably not. Or perhaps, all should be released, but then nothing should be left out. Maybe the best thing would be to see and hear it all played live. Impossible, of course; both of them. Releasing all that you do without any form of selection, or hearing this all live. This is fine album, a good one.

Sound Of Music, Thomas Millroth:
Nästan utan undantag är varje skiva med Keith Rowe – och det är ganska många vid det här laget – en händelse. Trots att en del av estetiken är just avskalandet av yttre händelser i musiken. En gång för länge sedan bad jag Keith Rowe och Axel Dörner spela ihop för första gången. Dörner hade då just klivit fram på scenen med sin främmandegjorda trumpet. Hans klangkombinationer var oväntade och han slog många med häpnad. Och med rätta, det visade sig ju att han var en av dem som öppnade dörrarna för ett nytt fält i musiken. Men en av de filosofiska och praktiska föregångarna var just Rowe.
Det mötet blev inte bra. Dörner var strålande på sitt sätt men fick aldrig ihop det med Rowe. Då. Ändå var det en viktig spelning för mig, här gick framför allt Rowes moral och estetik i dagen. Om Dörner ännu var lika frontal som en klassisk jazzmusiker eller konstinterpret, om än med en nyskapad vokabulär, så hade Rowe gjort tabula rasa av sin gitarr, sina ljudgrejer och sin radiomottagare upplagda på bordet. Om jag nu yxar till skillnaden i efterhand: Dörner var här musikanten som lät musiken strömma ur sig, smått berusad av alla nya klanger han funnit; Rowe däremot hade förvandlat sitt instrument upplagt tillsammans med andra ljudbärare på bordet till en landningsbana för oväntade ljud, som inte alls sorterades hierarkiskt, han själv satt i tornet och styrde så att inte något kolliderade, eller kanske gjorde just det.
På ett märkligt vis var Rowe ett slags mottagare, en organisatör av ljud, en observatör, en Linné i ljudfloran, som upprättade hemliga samband mellan klanger, dock utan att meddela lyssnarna detta, för det måste vara hans hemlighet.
Musiken för honom kändes som rottrådar som trassligt eller tydligt band samman de olika ljuden. Ett blirr från en vidrörd gitarrsträng eller en mikrotonal sekvens sammanvävd med en oväntad radiokanal, som plötsligt ville göra sig hörd. Allt detta landade hos honom, hamnade i hans öron och knä. Och han organiserade, lyssnade, förundrades. Helt kompromisslös.
Jag har svårt att tänka mig en musik mer fjärran från våld, utspel, expressionism, hierarkier. Om jag hade skrivit detta för fyrtio år sedan, hade jag talat om hans musik som ett slags modell för samhälle, samvaro och liv. De må vara så, men jag vill inte belasta hans musik på det viset, eftersom han just vill låta den komma fram utan belastning, utan skillnader mellan klang, ljud, dissonans, instrument och andra tillfälligheter. Och Rowes mottaglighet och musikaliska uttrycksvilja är i det mesta motsatsen till den nyskapande romantiska konstnärsgestalten, som modernismen sett så många exempel på. Han varken är eller vill vara något slags musikhjälte. På ett sätt går det att säga, att Rowe inte är en traditionellt ”bra” improvisationsmusiker, som fungerar i en grupp. Han har en grund som liknar musikalisk och filosofisk moral utifrån vilken han agerar.
Men väldigt många musiker har nu lyssnat in liknande strukturer som Rowe. Arvet efter gruppen kring AMM i England har visat sig växtstarkt som rottrådar mellan olika svampar. Alla tidens ljudande lågmälda massor skiftande av de små ljudens knaster eller böljeslag relaterar sig på ett eller annat vis till AMM. De är utväxter i glesare eller tätare grupper i denna den risigaste och taggigaste och en gång mest svårforcerade svampskogen i musiken. Därför är många av Rowes skivor ett slags överenskommelser av oförutsägbarheter, vilket ibland kan vara nog så förutsägbart, men aldrig ointressant. Andra möten däremot innehåller en kraftig friktion, där musiker med samma strävan som Rowe hävdar egna spelvägar. Förstås bortom all jazz och den typen av frontal spelstil.
Rowes musik är helt rumslig, tredimensionell, orienterar sig runt runt, upp eller ner. Den är en skulptural kropp på samma vis som i en performance eller ännu hellre ett dansverk. De flesta som hört Rowe – jag hoppas de är många – har en uppfattning hur det låter. De som tänker så får sitt lystmäte av Contour. Det är två längre improvisationer, där alla använder elektronik men Alfredo Costa Monteiro spelar dragspel, Ilia Belorukov saxofon och Kurt Liedwart olika småprylar.
Rowes gitarr är en ständigt tankfull lågmäldhet och de andra stämmer in. Liggande ljud som är svåra att definiera. Kom det från dragspelet? Eller kanske Belorukovs klockstycke? Men i stort är det ett flöde som mest definierar sig inåt. Små tonskillnader, ringa ljudkontraster. Det flyter på, men skär inte lyssnarna så mycket i öronen. Snarare är det långtråkigheten de fyra musikerna använder. Det blir ungefär samma effekt som då en lång linje tecknas och det gäller att notera hur ofta den läses av som en horisont, fast det aldrig föreställer något sådant. Eller en vit målning, där endast strukturer, rytmer, riktningar är särskiljande men helheten ändå vit.
Det intressanta med den här typen av överenskommelser inom en improvisation är hur alla deltagare sugs in i ett gemensamt rum, instrument och idéer söker varandra. Då och då är det någon som försäger sig. Plötsligt kladdar Belorukov till den skimrande ytan med några sekunder identifierbar saxofon, till exempel. Någon annan, om det kanske var Liedwart, lockar små föremål att klicka och ticka i en oväntad takt. Det är som att röra sig i dimma och ana konturer. Konsten är således att förvandla långtråkigheten genom att hålla på den så konsekvent att den förvandlas till en dimma, för där inbillar vi oss både det ena och andra. Utan att Rowe och hans kompisar har pekat. Ungefär så uppfattar jag också hans musikaliska moral.
De som sällan hör Rowe och inför mina omständliga utläggningar rycker på axlarna och tänker, ja, ja, att det kan jag säga, som orkar med detta. Dem rekommenderar jag Keith Rowes gitarrkvartettalbum, där musiken exploderar. Rowe, Anthony Taillard, Emmanuel Leduc och Julien Ottavi spelar en rad kortare stycken. De öppnar med andäktig lågmäldhet som knappt hörs. Men sedan modelleras ljud och klanger om. Det är ungefär som om Rowe motvilligt lyssnat på noise och försökt rensa bort allt fluff för att återskapa en kärna, som inte är därifrån men som kan klara av att klinga parallellt med all slags noise. Ungefär som då en konstnär ställer upp en modell men tecknar ur minnet och endast har modellen som ett slags natur som hans teckning ska klara sig bredvid. Utan att likna det minsta.
Gitarrkvartetten är för att vara från Rowe överrumplande upprivande. Det finns för all del korta passager i Contour, som jag nämnde, där något plötsligt kärvt hörs, men de är få. Här är det många kast. En hel del essens kommer från, tycker jag mig höra, klang- och ljudkonst, som ju ligger nära Rowes antihierarkiska ideal. Julien Ottavi är verksam som både musiker och ljudkonstnär sedan 1990-talet. Detta i kombination med ett slags musikaliska mönsterbildningar har gett lysande resultat. Det kan vara en rubrik över musiken, till exempel ”Awkward”, men det kan också bestå av nio sektioner, alla på exakt en minut, där de musikaliska och klangliga händelserna under dessa minuter bildar ett mönster.
Det är som hos de gamla ljudpoeterna och konkreta diktarna, till exempel Isidore Issou eller ryske Iliazd, som uppfann ett helt eget språk att behandlas på detta systematiska vis. Att skapa ett slags ojämnt raster att lägga över dessa klanger, ljud, personligheter för att åstadkomma något nytt, klingande, rimmande. Och som sagt här skär Rowe och hans kompisar hårt i lyssnarens öron men utan att höja volymen så mycket. Det är ändå skarpare än det mesta.
Det handlar om ett slags strukturer utan tvång.
Rowe har på dessa två märkliga skivor bjudit med en rad egensinniga, men stundtals, tror jag, litet förvirrade (vad ska jag göra nu då?) spelare, och låtit allt detta lugnt och i spridda skurar landa på hans gitarrbord. Som musikalisk flygledare är Keith Rowe rätt oöverträffad. Och som musikalisk svampodlare har han kontakt med rottrådar, rhizome, som vid det här laget sträcker sig oändligt långt under det förnimbara markplanet.
Keith Rowe är så mycket mer än en gitarr på bordet och en radio som ibland hörs av en slump, där liknar många honom i dag, han är en närvaro i ett nytt ljudfält. Just närvaron är viktig, för hans musik har aldrig handlat om att undvika. Gitarren på bordet var nog aldrig menad som en omdefiniering av instrumentet, det var bara en lämplig plats för en gitarrist att låta alla ljud och klanger han fann och upptäckte landa på.

Squid's Ear, Kurt Gottschalk:
I recently considered Keith Rowe's A Quartet for Guitars for this outlet as a conversation between guitars independent of people playing them. Contour, recorded later in 2013 than the Quartet has a similarly disembodied feel but this one, at least for the first half, seems rather free of musicality altogether.
The first half, a duo by Rowe with his tabletop guitar setup and Alfredo Costa Monteiro on accordion, I imagine as a soundtrack for a stop-motion animation, a night scene in an office or kitchen with staplers or spatulas marching about. This isn't anything new in the peripheries of audio art — sounds have been being divorced from musicality for nearly a century with the pioneering conceptual work of John Cage, not to mention Rowe's own five decades of generating noise. But there's something about this duo that seems extreme — or intreme, to coin a more appropriate antonym. There are some rather pleasant sounds, some sounds with a fleeting (perhaps accidental) tonality, and some quite literal sounds that focus the mind — scrapes and motors with clearer origins that bring the frame back into its rather miniscule focus.
The difference between accidental sound (the sounds of traffic Cage so loved) and sound art, one would have to presume, is intention. As with any art, we can enjoy it without entirely understanding it, but if we feel the artist doesn't understand we're likely to conclude that we've been hoodwinked. And here is where I'd like to draw the distinction between clattering silverware and waltzing office supplies. I don't feel the intention in the duet. While I don't doubt it's there, I don't feel that sense of purpose. This is such an abstract headspace that I don't expect anyone to agree with me or even care what I say, but within the layers of minimalist abstract improvisation and the nuances of individual receptibility, I fail to find the sense that something is compelling the players. We want, at least (I think) to feel as if artists are doing something. I find myself wondering in this instance if they are merely running through "Stella by Starlight" for the 60th time this month.
Rowe and Costa Monteiro are joined on the second track by Ilia Belorukov (alto saxophone, iPod, mini-subwoofer and mini-speaker) and Kurt Liedwart (electronics). Rowe's bandmates are also all credited with playing "objects" and indeed it's the objects that seem to steal much of the show. I can still imagine the stop-motion animation but the score is more musical now. There's more dynamic and more tonality, which makes it (and I hesitate to see this) seem all the more musical. In fact, the 35-minute quartet seems to retroactively justify the 24-minute duo. It still doesn't make it sing but if these objects are indeed in conversation, the dialect becomes easier to catch when the full quartet is speaking it.