Rant: Land

Though a few additional sounds sneak into the material (piano playing, for example, in the blink-and-you'll-miss-it opener “Stel,” typewriter clacks during the more fully developed “Bluhm,” and subway noise in “Luen”), Land's duo performances are otherwise wholly dedicated to the guitar playing of Torsten Papenheim and drumming of Merle Bennett. They're concise in the extreme, with the recording's thirteen pieces weighing in at a mere thirty-four minutes and the collection itself a follow-up to the earlier Rant releases Seumsund / Sundseum (2004) and A Direct Sensuous Pleasure (2006).

Papenheim alternates between clean legato voicings and jagged shards, with Bennett using brushes and sticks to follow where their collective muse leads; the drummer, who plays pop and rock music with the band Erik & Me and also works as a music teacher for children, shows herself to be an inventive conversationalist in shadowing Papenheim's statements in “Hunderer” with funky rhythms and ample doses of cymbal colour. The musicians also generate a fuller sound than one might expect by using multi-tracking, and consequently a piece such as “Hunderer” sounds more like the work of a two-guitar quintet than duo. Moods vary throughout the recording, with a ponderous piece such as “Rasch” far removed from “Orlando,” which takes the duo to a grungier plane during the white heat of its closing minutes. A slow blues vibe emerges in a few places, such as “Krupunder,” with the guitar's thematic twang leaving lots of room for the drummer's imagination. Other tracks unfold at an equally slow-motion pace (e.g., “Resch”), and a loose, unhurried, and explorative spirit pervades the material, with the duo open to letting things develop as they will. Despite Land's short running-time, the recording nevertheless manages to cover a generous amount of ground, from experimental improvs to both song settings and collage-styled pieces. What prevents it from being a wholly satisfying release, however, is that the pieces often feel more like sketches than fully developed compositions, a lack that would have been rectified had they been elaborated upon in both length and in arrangement, with perhaps other musicians being added to help address the latter.

August 2011