Tuesday, May 25, 2010

ceremonies out of the air

When you've got nothing else, construct ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them.

~ Cormac McCarthy, The Road

This potent line provides the title for a new recording, ceremonies to breathe upon, a bass duo performance by Andrew Lafkas and Michael T. Bullock.

The picture is a draftsman's drawing of an immense 19th century structure in Troy, New York, dubbed Gasholder House, originally a storage facility for an ironholder of coal gas.

The structure was the site for the bass duo performance in March 2008 of Lafkas and Bullock. Much like the in situ resonances and reverberations heard on the trio release of Axel Dorner, Xavier Charles and John Butcher, The Contest of Pleasures, the site is integrated with evident care by the musicians, who avoid the more obvious possibilities a space with ridiculously slow decay and incredible amplitude offers.

That the trio recording was in the venerable Chappelle Sain-Jean, Mulhouse, while the Lafkas/Bullock duo was in a storage garage for paint trucks, is a sweet reminder that any environment, when encountered and engaged by superb musicians, can be an integral element of the music.

I hope to have more to say about the music itself, as I revisit this impressive release on wind measures recordings.

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