new music reviews authored by paul khimasia morgan

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Rhizomes four

Sarah Hennies and Tim Feeney
PORTUGAL   Rhizome.s # 20  cd-r  2018

Composed and performed by Sarah Hennies and Tim Feeney.  Recorded by Matthew Saccuccimorano at Silo City, Buffalo, NY  August 2016.
An hour of languorous threading together of signal and silence; repeated motifs overlaid against a patchwork of rests.  The signal is reminiscent of droplets, but could be in actuality generated in many different ways – perhaps woodblock hits, or using toneblocks, or claves; even a Max/MSP patch or similar designed for this specific purpose?  Maybe we’ll never know.  There is the occasional variance in pitch, so there’s clearly more than one of the thing the artists are using to facilitate the piece; and reverberation and what could be heavy EQ-ing or filtering of some sort is used at certain points.  Gaps of silence are also employed at critical intervals, seemingly of progressively longer duration.
You’ll need the time to commit to it, but given an appropriate degree of concentration it gives results.  I like it.  A sensitive, sensational appraisal of sound.

Dante Boon
Dusseldorf Recital
PORTUGAL   Rhizome.s # 21  cd-r  2018

Known as a composer in his own right and a skilled interpreter of contemporary piano music, Dante Boon presents his 2016 piano recital at Jazz-Schmiede in Dusseldorf, which was part of Klangraum 2016.  The concert recording was edited and mastered by the authoritative hand of Bruno Duplant.
A beautiful hour of music.  Not the most maximalist of chosen material, but perhaps this is to be expected from a member of the Wandelweiser collective.  In fact, Boon steers clear of anything too “experimental” in his selections; these pieces by Coleman Zurkowski, Gil Sansón, Anastassis Phillippakopoulos, Eva-Maria Houben, Assaf Gidron and Jack Callahan all take a fairly orthodox approach to piano, albeit as orthodox as Wandelweiser gets.  The Wandelweiser link continues: Phillippakopoulos and Houben are also members; Gil Sanson’s Untitled (for Antoine Beuger) is dedicated to the Wandelweiser composer.  Boon’s selection of the running order of the material is effective, keeping an interesting flow and dynamic to his performance as a whole.  For sake of clarity and thoroughness, here is the full repertoire:

Die von Blumen reich ich dir (2013) by Coleman Zurkowski
Untitled (for Antoine Beuger) (2015) by Gil Sansón
Piano Piece (2016) by Anastassis Phillippakopoulos
Lose verbunden (2014) by Eva-Maria Houben
Dim (2014/2016) by Assaf Gidron
Blue Dream Excerpt with Proportional Ending (2016) by Jack Callahan

Overall, highly enjoyable - this is a disc I keep returning to.

affinities selectives
volume 1
PORTUGAL   Rhizome.s # 22  cd-r  2018

Two live recordings on this disc.  The first four tracks are from a session featuring Gaudenz Badrutt, Ilia Belorukov and Alexander Markvart titled “back-feeder i-iv”.  The beginning of this is brilliant – it is mastered brutally loud so that you don’t miss a single decibel of the abrasive feedback artefacts on offer; the kind of abrasive feedback artefacts usually found in an inexperienced teenaged bands’ rehearsal space between songs.  However, if you’re a fan of, say, Seth Cooke’s process works or Henrik Rylander’s feedback obsessions, you are in for a treat.
Aside from a dash of radio, the sounds are characterized by commonly-perceived “mistakes” and “errors” in standard methods of sound reproduction.  Pops, static, blasts of electrical noise, stirrups, jumps, clones, piaffes, contact, no-contact, engagement, flying change, half-pass, leg yield, on and back, piaffe, pirouette, shoulder fore, shoulder in, travers, turn-on-the-forehand and so forth, and in abundance.
For the detail-obsessed among us, Gaudenz Badrutt is credited with “acoustic sound sources” and live sampling; Ilia Belorukov alto saxophone, electronics, field recordings and samples and Alexander Markvart on prepared acoustic guitar, guitar combo and objects.  Recorded march 2016 at espace libre, biel/bienne, Switzerland.
Track five is a piece called “gezeugt” or “Begotten”; recorded at Le Non Lieu in Roubaix, France; this group comprises Quentin Conrate on percussion, Matthieu le Brun on alto saxophone and electronics, Anne-Laure Pudbut on tapes and electroacoustic devices and Frédéric Tentelier on organ and electroacoustic devices.  This second grouping produces one single piece of music of a kind of desiccated drone; it sheds its dried outer layers of sound like an aural confetti.  Most pleasant, and a good complement to “back-feeder i-iv”.

Morgan Evans-Weiler
Iterations and Environments
PORTUGAL   Rhizome.s # 23  cd-r  2018

Two pieces on offer here;
“Iterations” - spiralling cascades of violin; like a drone heard by the unwary, but focus in and the strings fold over each other like a murmuration of starlings or a particularly active beehive.  Like when you are grinding coffee and you watch the beans fall over themselves in slow motion into the vortex, slowly becoming smaller and smaller particles.  There’s a gradual decay to the middle section of the piece, not unlike how the spin of that fresh cup of coffee slows down its revolving after you finish stirring it, the cluster of bubbles marking time as you eventually come to your senses before leaving the house for work.
“Environments III” - here Evans-Weiler uses “electronics” – no further detail – to produce waves of bass-heavy pure tone and occasional ear motes in the higher registers, while accompanied by Emilio Carlos Gonzalez on piano.  Interestingly, I think I can still hear violin-like sounds from time to time, which I presume is courtesy of Evans-Weiler’s set-up.
Compared to Iterations, there is far less turmoil over the course of this shorter piece, although the intensity is ramped up toward the end of the piece by subtle shifts of pressure in the bass information.
Morgan Evans-Weiler has previously worked with the likes of Seth Cluett, Sarah Hennies, Ryoko Akama, Antoine Beuger and is director of the Ordinary Affects ensemble who, interestingly, have premiered works by Wandelweiser composers Jürg Frey, Antoine Beuger and Michael Pisaro.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

Distant Animals - Lines

Distant Animals
SWITZERLAND  Hallow Ground  HG1804  LP  (2018)

New work from the UK-based composer Daniel Alexander Hignell.  There is a previous collaborative album, Bambi with Hákarl under his own name on dsic’s LF Records from 2012, where the drones and distant, distressed vocals were underscored with reverberation and ghostly drum machines; Hignell’s machinations more understated, existing as an environment for Hákarl’s violin to manoeuvre within.  As good as Bambi is, a lot of time separates these two releases, and Lines should be seen for what it is perhaps intended to represent; a starting point of Hignell’s art practice proper.  It takes the form of two pieces of music, each around 17 minutes in duration.  The press release suggests the influence of La Monte Young, Morton Feldman, Eleh, and Mauricio Kagel in Hignell’s work.  It goes on to describe the work thus: “Inspired by a 130 page text-score, and performed upon a modular synthesizer, the work explores participatory approaches to performance, utilising text that leads its performer to undertake emergent and evolutionary changes in timbre and rhythm over extended time periods.”  There is also reference to other aspects of Hignell’s activities; performance/participatory works in particular; in a nutshell – regarding this work specifically - I’d say where side A is about the drone, side B concerns itself with analysis and deconstruction of noise musics.
Side A is A Pure Drone.  Like a cloud of a thousand passenger jets flying overhead simultaneously.  Hignell employs a dense overlaying of sounds to form the drone; quite unlike Eleh’s more recent, singular investigations into the sonic possibilities of electrical currents.  The opening and closing of potentiometers and the fine adjustment of rotary controls becoming more and less raucous over time.  Heavy.  Ideal for kicking off your mid-week psychological excursions.
Side B is named Lines Made By Walking.  Drone plus abrasion?  Subsonic and multi-layered.  A more “composerly” dynamic.  But lighter than A Pure Drone, somehow.  More of a “composition” in the layman’s eyes, perhaps.  The greater variance of sounds; a wider palette, although not that much wider – we’re still barely out of monochrome and considering a trip to L. Cornellissen.  Pitch elements emerge from the fog, reminiscent (to me) of Kaleidophon:’s late 90’s White Dwarf.  There’s immense power here.  The breakdown into ambient hum halfway creates the perfect environment for the loud, bell-like shards of crystal that announce the maelstrom of the second half of the piece.  Even here, buried just behind each façade are unexpected references; techno/rave at 10:20, albeit very briefly; the tone generators of Wendy Carlos a minute later…
Sometimes, it seems to me that we are running back towards obsolescence as fast as we can with our arms open wide ready to desperately embrace aging machinery and formats; analogue synths, reel-to-reel and cassette tape, for example.  But we are optimistically wanting to wring the last, untapped crumbs of beauty out of them before it’s all over for good.  For me, Lines is an exemplary example of this.  Recommended.

Friday, 9 February 2018

A 1000füssler quartet

Straight outta Hamburg, comes what appears to be the final four releases on 1000füssler before Gregory Büttner sadly seems to have opted for an indefinite hiatus.  The back catalogue is full of top-flight names such as Seth Cooke & Dom Lash, Adam Asnan, Birgit Uhler, Asmus Tietchens, Roel Meelkop and Büttner himself.  1000füssler is a label that concerns itself with the sound of objects, activities, ephemera, occurrences, often this is in the form of field recordings, sometimes not.

Goh Lee Kwang
Radio Station EXP
GERMANY  1000füssler  028  3” CD  (2015)

Sounds of rainfall in Kuala Lumpur “re-composed and manipulated” by Goh Lee Kwang.  The connection between rain and radio is not an obvious one perhaps, but there are connections between atmospheric conditions and signal quality so maybe that is part of what is being alluded to here.  Kwang has managed to successfully transmogrify his rainfall recordings into a bleak kind of static.  Echo or doubling effects seem to be employed here and there, generating a brutalist crescendo.  This evolves over roughly two thirds of the piece’s duration; the source material getting more and more saturated with processing until it ultimately experiences a sudden massive boost in the high frequency range which gives the effect of what it might be like to have a massive bag of rice break over your head.  After this monumental event horizon has passed, Kwang allows all manner of sonic detritus to remain; gently swirling around like the flotsam and jetsam of a shipwreck the morning after a storm.

Simon Whetham
GERMANY  1000füssler  029  3” CD  (2015)

Simon Whetham endlessly traverses the world performing, recording and teaching leaving in his wake a respectable quantity of audio documentation on multifarious imprints.  This posits the question of whether “sonic art” is a contrivance designed at the whim or as a by-product of the primary work of practitioners like Whetham?  Or perhaps “contrivance” is simply a handy term for his working method here sounding objects. Which involves a very direct, constructional input from the artist.  The last couple of times I have seen Simon perform, he made good use of objects he found in the performance space – this “accidental”, or latent, palette of sounds.  The material on Contrivance, though, could be generated from industrial machinery or field recording sources or, again, simply the result of Whetham’s actions and interactions inside a gallery space.

Yan Jun
On 3 pipes
GERMANY  1000füssler  030  3” CD  (2015)

Two pieces made up from recordings of the pipework in his home and at The Shop, Beijing.
“Both tracks were heavily modified during the mastering process.  The original materials contain strong noises from the recording equipment.”  This suggests to me that the sounds captured from the pipes themselves were very quiet, and the noisefloor of the recorder is intentionally or unintentionally present.
Nonetheless, the results are very interesting.  Track one sounds processed, by which I mean it is not drowned in a sea of digital effects, rather the accidental artefacts of the recording itself are given equal priority it seem to me.
The start of the second track sounds like my old water heater which immediately brought back memories of making recordings of that myself about six years ago but also the frustration of having to rip it out and replace the entire heating system shortly afterward.  That was a cold winter.  Yan Jun’s recording allows the periodic interruption of the heater pumping water interspersed with calm.  At one point you can hear a phantom telephone ring which gives an idea of the amount of processing during the mastering process – a lot.  It’s not obvious on the loud sections in the same way as on track one, but yes it is heavily processed.

Diatribes & Cristián Alvear
Roshambo (trio)
GERMANY  1000füssler  031  3” CD  (2015)

Cyril Bondi, Laurent d’incise Peter, (who are Diatribes), and Cristián Alvear react in many interesting ways to a score written by Bondi and Peter.  Bondi uses a range of percussion, Peter his laptop, and Alvear his customary Spanish guitar.  I’ve written elsewhere at some length about the amazing sounds Cristián Alvear coaxes out of his guitar, and having arranged a Brighton concert for Diatribes in 2015, you can probably guess I’m a big fan of their work.
The piece ebbs and flows in a fashion reminiscent of a piece from the Wandelweiser group of composers, utilising space to allow each action to fully resonate.  Crests and troughs, like waves breaking in an eternal cycle of energy sustain and release.  What Michael Pisaro’s A Wave And Waves might sound like in super-compressed form, sketched on the back of your library card.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

a Caduc trio

Christián Alvear
HERMIT – Ryoko Akama
CANADA  Caduc  CA10  CD  (2016)

Three more recent releases from Caduc, the Vancouver-based label run by Mathieu Ruhlmann.  I’ll start with HERMIT – here, immediately the listener is thrust into a world of uncertainty; it takes 22 seconds before the first note sounds.  The forty-nine minutes and forty seconds of music that follow is full of suspense, anticipation, with a clear demonstration of restraint, resulting in the spare and economical delivery typical of Christián Alvear.  This is a beautiful acoustic guitar treatment by Alvear of this Ryoko Akama piece.  The inner sleeve has very little production information, but it does feature some text which I presume is all or part of Akama’s score for HERMIT – which is as follows:
“sound. Decay. Silence / Repeat one or two times / Short, soft, / Long and almost inaudible”
Alvear is a master of extended technique and wrings as many different sounds out of his Spanish flamenco-style guitar as he possibly can.  He also manages to convincingly incorporate an electronic ingredient into the proceedings – this could be produced by an e-bow device on the strings of his guitar.  It is not clear if this realisation of HERMIT is constructed – by which I mean multi-tracked – or performed in one take.  It would come as no surprise to hear that Alvear performed all this live in one go, such is his skill and imagination as a player.  Video material on his own website provides plenty of evidence of his commitment to “…the premiere, interpretation and recording of experimental and avant-garde music”, should you care to check it out.
There is also a quote hidden on the back of a folded part of the packaging, presumably from Ryoko Akama:
“what I miss most is somewhere between quiet and solitude
What I miss most is stillness”
This is a very, very quiet record due to its nature, and it needs – I think – a quiet place to hear it, study it and contemplate it.

Santiago Astaburuaga
Grado de potencia #1
CANADA  Caduc  CA15  CD  (2016)

The translation of Grado de potencia I found is “degree of power”.  Realised by a large ensemble of fourteen players, it is one forty-nine minute piece which involves environmental recordings being played back, along with the various instrumentation.  The piece was composed by Astaburuaga who also co-mixed the material with Augusto Hernandez.  It was recorded by Hernandez, Alexander Bruck and Jordan Topiel Paul.  Bruck, a member of the Mexican National Symphony Orchestra who has recently branched out into New Music, also plays viola on this recording.  The other performers are Gudinni Cortina, Rolando Hernandez, Enrique Maraver, Axel Muňoz, Alfredo Bojórquez, Jacob Wick, Ramón del Buey, Darío Bernal, Maribel Suárez, Jorge David Garcia, Aimée Theriot, Juan J. Garcia and Eva Coronado.
Grado de potencia #1 has a rich and vibrant textural clarity.  There is a dead stop at the end of the first quarter circa 12-20 minutes where the next sound is recorded conversation in a reverberant location.  A nice juxtaposition.  Circa 25 minutes there’s the sound of a dog barking – it’s so incongruous, it made me laugh out loud.  I’ve had conversations with friends recently about large groups improvising and how it only works in the context of performing a score which calls for improvisation?  For sure, there is a fair amount of recorded evidence of improvising orchestras struggling under the sheer weight of numbers over the years, but here there’s a lightness and fluidity despite the large number of musicians participating.
Christián Alvear has also produced a realisation of another piece by Astaburuaga; Pieza de Escucha. Video on his website.  There are a group of five harvestmen photographed on the rear of the sleeve, which further endears this release to me even more.  I like harvestmen much more than spiders; so much more elegant, don’t you think? 
Mastered by Alan Jones at Laminal Audio.  Santiago Astaburuaga has previous releases in groupings including with Christian Alvear on Impulsive Habitat and Lengua de Lava which on the strength of this, I am now going to search out.
Ryoko Akama / Christian Alvear / Cyril Bondi / D’Incise
MADA – Taku Sugimoto
CANADA  Caduc  CA16  CD  (2016)
Made with the requisite care and attention by Akama and Alvear - who have previous releases on the Caduc imprint; HERMIT – and Bondi and D’Incise who are perhaps better known as the duo Diatribes.  Here are two longish pieces and a short “interlude” of silence in between.  Sugimoto is well-known as a guitarist with a singular approach to composition.  Since 1988’s Mienai Tenshi or 1996’s Myshkin Musicu, Taku Sugimoto has moved into writing scores.  This is confirmed by the Improvised Music From Japan website which states, “Currently Sugimoto's interest focuses on composition and its performance, rather than improvisation.”  I first became aware of Taku Sugimoto’s work when, while working at the Circulations multi-media event at Sussex University in the late 1990s, I witnessing a young man quietly abusing his archtop Gibson jazz guitar in a profoundly un-jazz way.  A colleague of mine then informed me that this fellow was clearly a devotee of the Japanese minimalist.

Mada I features a staccato guitar pluck as crisp as a footstep in fresh snow.  Repeated clusters of activity. Nay, flurries.  Occasionally two or more instruments settle on the same note.  Extensive use of pauses.  This piece is perhaps more animated and delicate.  Spread out. A piano note repeats.  Harp?  The interlude is around five minutes of silence and such a long duration is very effective.  When the bassy drum/bell hits that start Mada II appear it is a genuinely disturbing jolt.  All the silence of the interlude acts as a solid footing that anchors one piece to the other like concrete.  Mada II doesn’t even start straightaway.  Sugimoto specifies extremes of pitch.  It’s like the musicians are slowing down time.
One early listen-through was while killing time in a carpark in semi-rural Sussex, England.  Here’s a list of the things in the environment I heard while I was listening to MADA in the order I heard them:
The squeak of a hung metal shop sign blown softly by the wind
Light traffic
The bass rumble of a large motorcycle’s V-twin engine ticking over nearby
A tractor passing
The ever-present drone of aircraft
Church bells
A bus
Crows.  Make of that what you will.

MADA could be seen as a culmination of Sugimoto’s previous solo explorations/approach/practice.  I’m looking forward to the prospect of discovering more.

Monday, 26 June 2017

"the blue heart of the planet"

photo by George Baylis

Carnival Of Objects Theatre Of Puppetry presents
The Sea

Shelley Theatre, Boscombe, Dorset 24/25 June 2017

A “dark and atmospheric coastal tale”, The Sea is a modern re-imagining of traditional stories and
legends that surround the “Selkies”, or seal folk – “…the spiritual personifications of nature and the hidden aspects of the workings of the sea…” - that originate from The Western Isles.  Indeed, director Nicky Baylis spent considerable time researching these legends when she visited the Outer Hebrides in preparation for writing the play.  The Sea is immersive; from the very first moments, as the sea mist rolls in over the audience from the rear of the Shelley Theatre’s small raked stage to later, when the first of the beautiful hand-sculpted seal-masks bob around, I was transported to another place.  Baylis’ story pits a barbaric, drunken seal hunter against the mystical aspects of the sea itself, while a sub-plot involving a doomed relationship between a human male, (of very traditional male attitudes), and a seal woman intertwines with the unnerving influence of a kind of witchy conjuror-type character, Maggie o’ th’ Moss.  In a way, the masks and puppets are the real stars of the show; the epic two-year pre-production period being due in large part to the time it takes to fabricate these often quite large pieces.  The impressive “Seal King” mask must have been over three feet tall.
The four excellent actors/puppeteers; Emma Manley, Tony Horitz, Jonny Hoskins and Nicky Baylis, are joined onstage by two musicians; violinist Stefan Defilet and cellist Nick Squires who perform throughout.  Defilet wrote the score for the play and it is here, along with the imaginative sound design, that the tangible magic of the play is created.  Using a mixture of traditional folk-influenced elements, extended technique and otherworldly drones, Defilet and Squires ramp up the mood, tension and anxiety as the play progresses.  In the second half, the amplified pre-recorded sound design which had previously comprised simple effects such as the sound of waves or seabirds, now employs fabulously unsettling delays and reverberation on spoken passages, (reminding me of the disconcerting sound effects in the lurid Mexican 1960s Mr Majicka films), contrasting hi-fidelity and grainy analogue sections, sputtering white noise, in particular, during the scene where the Grim Reaper makes an appearance, helping give the proceedings a genuine sense of menace.

photo by Paul Viner

The puppeteering is elegant and refined throughout; referencing the bunraku technique, (in other words, the performers are visible to the audience while operating the puppets).  There is also a link back to one of the building’s previous uses – the Publicity Artist; cartoonist Mark Stafford and the photographers, Liam Daniel and George Baylis all studied art in the building.
The venue itself is in a perfect location for this play; only a few hundred yards away from the cliffs overlooking the sea at Boscombe.  The auditorium itself currently has a suitably “shabby-chic” look about it as all the remaining original features – the proscenium arch and raked stage for example – have been retained and their aged patina preserved intact.  The modern theatre bar and courtyard adjacent to the auditorium is a stylish recent addition.  The original theatre was built by Percy Florence Shelley, son of Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, inside his private residence, Boscombe Manor.  The theatre itself opened in 1870.  The building’s subsequent history is interesting.  Shelley and his wife left no direct descendants, so the manor was sold and became a school around the turn of the century.  After the Second World War it then became an art college - I studied there from 1988-1990 when it was known simply as Shelley Park; part of Bournemouth & Poole College of Art & Design.  At that time, the stage area of the theatre, (complete with the original raked floor), was our canteen and the auditorium our Main Hall.  When the College stopped using the building to teach, the building sadly quickly fell rapidly into disrepair.  As is too often the case these days, where financial pressures seem to sometimes take precedent over historical value, at this point in time, there was some concern for the future of the derelict theatre.  However, developers refurbished the entire site after it was sold in 2005 and it is no small achievement of the team behind the Shelley Theatre Trust who have so elegantly brought Shelley Theatre back to life.

I attended the first of a two-night run and both nights appear to have been sold out.  Nicky Baylis plans to tour the play around coastal theatre venues in the near future.  It's a wonderful piece of work. I wish her and Carnival Of Objects the best of luck in that endeavour.

photo by George Baylis

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

From Ledge To Ledge

Noteherder & McCloud
From Ledge To Ledge
UK  Spirit Of Gravity  7” vinyl  (2017)

Great lathe-cut seven here from Brighton’s saxophone/electronics duo of Chris Parfitt and Geoff Reader respectively.  Both cuts are excerpted from live recordings from the fag-end of 2015 in Brighton and Worthing.  The A side, “From Ledge To Ledge” is the nearest I’ve heard them get to dub, but even now, you’ll have to listen hard to get that.  The prepared bass line that starts the piece off is what makes me make that reference; other listeners might assume I’ve gone mad.  The saxophone comes in from the end of a very long station platform bringing with it recordings of voices and bit-crushed kiddytronica.  This rich stew is then availed of some dub-style delay effects while cranking up the spookiness factor.
The flip; “Jammed In The Middle Shingle, It Comes Right In The End” is more minimal and less of a foot-tapper than the A side, but: if you are reading this blog, since when have you been concerned by that?  The saxophone is more prominent and in control from the start; the electronics initially chug along in the background.  Voices are heard; possibly audience members, lurking.  Chris Parfitt is sending a pulse signal out into deep space.  And then we’re on Broadway in the Birdland club back in 1959, briefly…

Both cuts stop abruptly in order to fit the meagre timeframe of 7” vinyl, but I like that.  Better than faffing about trying to find “the best” four minutes to edit; just cut it there – great!  The mastering job is handled, appropriately, by Dan Powell, he of improvising outfits The Static Memories, Nil and Brambling, who infuses more clarity out of a live recording destined for lathe-cut vinyl than is decent.  The Cover image is a roadbridge over the A27 at Shoreham, unless I’m much mistaken.  Which is a nice continuation of Noteherder & McCloud’s fascination with Sussex architecture; previous releases have been decorated with images of Brighton’s New England House and Bexhill’s De La Warr Pavilion.  Back cover and label images of the band by Far Rainbow’s Bobby Barry.

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Three Things You Can Hear

Seamus Cater
The Three Things You Can Hear
NETHERLANDS  Nearly Not There Records / Annihaya Records NNTR01  LP/CD  (2016)

On this, his first solo album, Seamus Cater aims to combine “new song-writing and contemporary acoustic music drawing on revivalist folk music and 60s minimalism as source material”.  What sets him apart from practitioners working in similar ways like Richard Dawson or Richard Youngs or Alasdair Roberts?  There’s the minimalism of course, and the production is high quality but very spare.
As well as Fender Rhodes, the familiar junk-shop-find 1941-vintage duet concertina accompaniment abides for those who enjoyed Cater’s last studio outing; The Anecdotes with Viljam Nybacka.  Although positioned as a solo record, Cater is not always alone on The Three Things You Can Hear; there are also rather understated contributions from Kai Fagaschinski and Michael Thieke of The International Nothing, Koen Nutters and Morten J. Olsen of The Pitch and Konzert Minimal and Johnny Chang, also of Konzert Minimal.  Han Jacobs contributes saw.  Incidentally, this album was mastered by Jeff Carey; the man who contributed “reverb” to a piece on The Anecdotes.  There’s a crossover here for those interested in quiet music: Berlin-based Johnny Chang is part of the Wandelweiser collective, in fact alongside Koen Nutters, he co-curates the Wandelweiser group-based concert series Konzert Minimal.
Despite working with what could be termed “traditional instrumentation”, Cater is not afraid to deviate from traditional songform.  His unhurried approach to his material tends to focus the listener’s attention.  His is more than simply a considered approach; he has a deep and sympathetic relationship with his material and the history and tradition within.  His family’s musical background can be seen as a way of determining Cater’s interests for sure.  His own experiences as a young man deep within the anti-authoritarian, transient, atmospheric, acid house culture of the late 1980s may possibly be important; possibly not.  Interestingly, he seems to have been a recognisable figure at the time in the acid house scene – Cater has recently survived being name-checked by The Prodigy's Keith Flint.
I have the lp version here which is housed in a great die-cut sleeve – nice, rounded corners; very unusual –a three colour silkscreened etelage card sleeve adorned with an image of a human head, deep in thought?  There is also a full-colour printed card bookmark inscribed by hand with a download code, plus a gigantic A1 fold-out silkscreened/digital print lyric sheet.  The vinyl is an edition of 300, although Annihaya Records have also released the cd version in an edition of 500.