Entia Non & Tanner Menard: I Never Expected Your Decays Part 1
Rural Colours

Featuring piano pieces by New Orleans-based Tanner Menard dressed up with layers of field recordings and other interventions by Australian James McDougall (aka Entia Non), I Never Expected Your Decays Part One presents three electroacoustic collaborations in another commendable chapter in the Rural Colours series of three-inch recordings. “Paths Between Oceans” gradually emerges out of silence with sparse piano accents dotting a simmering wave of grainy textures. The emphasis is more on the ambient-drone side of things in the opening minutes, but a noticeable shift occurs past the halfway mark when Menard's piano presence asserts itself more dominantly amidst the crackle. The keyboard assumes a rather ghostly presence during “No Valley No...” when heard against a metallic backdrop of electronic flourishes, especially when it drapes itself so sparsely against that fluctuating background. The whistling windswept mass McDougall conjures in the closing piece “This Lonely Fortitude” almost buries Menard's playing until it asserts itself more dramatically, though not so strongly that the textural backdrop fades from view entirely. It's in this final piece that the collaborators' elements merge most indissolubly into a single textural whole, though even then the piano can be extricated out of it. Recorded in 2008-09 but only now seeing the light of day, the release is notable for the way in which a strikes a balance between piano-based melodicism and ambient soundscaping, with the three pieces confidently staking out a middle ground betwixt the two.

April 2011