Arkhonia: Another Dispatch in a World of Multiple Veils
Gareth Davis / Jan Kleefstra / Romke Kleefstra: Sieleslyk
Richard A Ingram: Better Luck
The ongoing subscription series from the Hibernate Recordings sub-label Rural Colours continues apace with three contrasting three-inch releases from Arkhonia, Richard A Ingram, and the trio of Gareth Davis, Jan Kleefstra, and Romke Kleefstra.
Richard A Ingram follows last year's debut album Consolamentum, issued on the Manchester-based White Box label, and anticipates the imminent release of his next album, Happy Hour, with a single-track, nineteen-minute setting drenched in hiss and static titled Better Luck. Its primary components are delicate guitar phrases to which Ingram's applied various looping and delay treatments. Add an Akai 1721L reel-to-reel tape recorder and a spool of defective tape and you end up with a calm-inducing, electroacoustic mood piece that's in no mad rush to reach its destination. Fans of Simon Scott and Jasper TX will cotton to Ingram's work too, especially when it grows ever so patiently in density as the layers of guitar picking and shadings accumulate. The sleepy character of the piece subsides during the last quarter, however, as the intensity and volume build, with even a bit of guitar snarl and noise seeping into the whole as it makes its way towards a violent climax.
Arkhonia's Another Dispatch in a World of Multiple Veils gives the appearance of being a five-track EP but, in fact, the indexed pieces flow without interruption from one to the next, turning the release into a nineteen-minute journey. Similar to the Ingram installment, Arkhonia's comes after the unidentified producer's own late-2010 White Box full-length Trails/Traces. “Smoke” begins the trip with the relatively restrained warble and shimmer of deep space tranmissions, before a more aggressive approach emerges during “Fog” in the form of tones that glisten with a razor-edged intensity. The material remains steadily eerie and ethereal as it moves through “Dust,” after which the intergalaxial communications of “Snow” are punctuated by percussive knocking and the piece reaches its end with a bold flourish in “Rain.” The oddest thing, frankly, about the release isn't the music but rather Arkhonia's choice of natural phenomena for track titles, a move belied by the spacey character of the material itself.
Sieleslyk, a single-track setting from collaborators Gareth Davis (bass clarinet and contrabass clarinet), Romke Kleefstra (guitars and effects), and Jan Kleefstra (words and voice), is reminiscent of last year's Experimedia album, Wurdskrieme, by the Piiptsjilling collective—hardly a surprise given the involvement of the Kleefstra siblings in that project (Mariska Baars and Rutger Zuydervelt the others involved). The presence of Davis's woodwinds differentiates the Sieleslyk release from the full-length, even if the portentous delivery of Jan's words (spoken in Frisian, a language spoken in the northern part of The Netherlands) and creeping atmospherics of Romke lend the material an ominous quality shared by the Experimedia release. Davis integrates himself carefully into the fabric of the piece during both vocal and non-vocal passages, with the bleat and cry of his clarinet acting as an effective counterpoint to the atmospheric effects generated by the electric guitar.