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The Rambler :: blog

Monday, March 29, 2004

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Ian Baxter, the man behind 86400 seconds also runs a DIY record label, Quiet Records. I ordered their sampler CD which dropped through the post this morning. Seven tracks, seven artists, bit of a mixed bag - but Quiet are happy not having a specific genre or style focus. Favourite track for me I think is the Fandago Boys' gloriously rough-and-ready, and hilarious 'Unlicensed Fighter', a demolition of the Beatles' 'Paperback Writer'. Among the other tracks, Jon Dalton's 'Mourning' is a muscular, minimalist improvisation - much more like John Adams' Phrygian Gates than the Philip Glass you might expect. Lots of clanging reverb, a hint of Mussorgsky's 'Great Gate of Kiev', perhaps. Ian's own contribution - 'U-238' - is taken from the two-track Uranium EP, and is a guitar-based Eno-esque slice of ambience. According to the site blurb, it's built up from loops, but if this is the case they're used to create a delicately shifting patina of non-repeats - sort of like Feldman - so that you know that what happens next will come from quite a small pool of possible events, but you're never completely sure what it will be. Like Music for Airports there's just enough of this in-built expectation to engage the mind, but never so much that you have to really work at it. Unlike Music for Airports, these are tangibly acoustic instruments - you can hear the scraping of fingernails on guitar strings - which brings an additional level of engagement - if you want to listen for it. In an analogy that I'm sure Ian will appreciate, it's like watching a session of test cricket after a boozy Sunday lunch, and all the better for it.


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