The Missing Ensemble: Hidden Doors
.Angle.Rec. / Mondes Elliptiques

Hidden Doors certainly receives the deluxe treatment: the CD's accompanied by a booklet containing short stories by Brian Evenson and Mathias Delplanque (the first in English, the second in French) and is graced by a striking cover painting by Ray Caesar that shows two women in 19th -century ballroom attire but sporting insect-like appendages in place of arms. On the forty-eight-minute release, The Missing Ensemble's John Sellekaers, Daniel De Los Santos, and Mathias Delplanque are augmented by trumpeter Ernst Karel and synth player Eric Heinroth on track one, and noise contributor Masami Akita (aka Merzbow) on four. Anyone anticipating a trumpet solo by Karel or a blistering assault by Akita will be disappointed because the guests' contributions are pretty much absorbed into The Missing Ensemble's lower-case dronescaping vortex. “Part I” presents a pulsating, insectoid drone that warbles and crackles for twenty minutes while “Part III” works up an even more texturally detailed mass that stretches in slow-motion for fifteen minutes. The barest trace of a rhythm pattern is detectable beyond the reverberant echoes, muffled pounds, and fluttering clicks that otherwise dominate. Machine-like noise (Akita the presumed author) does hover throughout “Part IV” but in rather controlled and well-behaved manner. In fact, Hidden Doors (apparently an early 2006 release) might be best characterized as a quintessential “headphones-listen” with the core trio sculpting sound like laboratory scientists working intensively on a biological research problem of one kind or another.

June 2009