V/A - Quartet Solo Series

V/A - Quartet Solo SeriesThe next piece of experimental improvisational music, I've got in my hands, became the release by the young American label Striking Mechanism – the first (and the only one at the moment) part of the Quartet Solo Series. The idea of this project is to join in one CD the works of four independent audio artists, among them in the first part are Marina Peterson (cello), Phillip Schulze (electronics), Jonathan Chen (electronics) and Andrew Raffo Dewar (soprano saxophone).

During the first 5 tracks we can hear playing of Marina Peterson. If it hadn't been mentioned on the disc's cover that she plays the cello, I wouldn't guess how much of the sounds were produced. There are also mentioned paper, clips and sticks. I didn't hear the expected vibrations of cello strings which I like so much, the tracks are abstract pictures of rustles, squeaks and percussion. It's rather entertaining and makes you listen attentively, though absolutely not deep and there's no wish to listen to it for many times. Marina Peterson's experiments are followed by the disc's part consisting of the two long-lasting electronic improvisations by Phillip Schulze and Jonathan Chen. The first of them plays the uncompromising game with his computers and software, cutting the space with the sounds of failures and errors of electronic equipment driven to despair. Noises, squeak, clicks, crack produce the non-structural substance playing with different sound-colors and gradually changing its structure. Dirty, prickly sound is changed by more smooth drone without sharp corners generated by feedback-system of Chen. The heart of it are drums and independent amplifiers without the use of a limiter. Monotonous layers of hypnonoise are layed on each other, filtered, they subside and become louder again. Record by Andrew Raffo Dewar finishes the compact disc. I imagine it as the narrow labyrinths inside dark, closed spaces. Truly claustrophobical theme played with only two musical instruments - silence and soprano saxophone.

Listening to the CD I caught myself at the thought that improvisation is in most cases very good, when you are close to the artist, you feel his energy and how it deepens into you. Without such contact the result of the free, momentary thought flight often can be not deep enough to immerse in it totally. It's a special talent to catch a listener with such a record, and it seems to me rather doubtful that it worked well in the first part of Quartet Solo Series. Well, we'll see what's going to be further...

- Striking Mechanism


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