Spotlight 8

Rodolphe Alexis
Justin Berkovi
Delphine Dora
East of Oceans
Seren Ffordd & Oophoi
Fischer and The OO-Ray
Gideon Wolf
Hallock Hill
Robert Hood
Mirror To Mirror
The Nest
Pandora's Black Book
Park Avenue Music
Parker and Element Choir
Prokofiev + Gregson
Roach and Serries
St. Dirt Elementary School
Bruno Sanfilippo
Sicker Man
Tin Hat
William Cody Watson
Waves On Canvas
Jeff Zentner

Compilations / Mixes
Matthias Tanzmann
Tartelet ‘Contemporary'

Félicia Atkinson
Alland Byallo
Kate Carr
Celer & Machinefabriek
Clark / Camden
Paul Eg
Erdem Helvacioglu
James Kumo
Lemos / Jencik
Listening Mirror
Franck Valat

Matthew Hale Clark / Ken Camden: Three:four Split Series Vol. 4
Three:four Records

Jeremy Lemos / Matt Jencik: Three:four Split Series Vol. 5
Three:four Records

The latest chapters in Three:four records split series (300 hand-numbered copies in each case) are exercises in cross-pollination to some degree, given the interconnections in personnel that exist between them (Lemos, for example, appears on Matthew Hale Clark's “SLC Suite”). Having said that, the two ten-inch discs' sides present a dramatically diverse stylistic array, encompassing as they do an acoustic beauty by Clark and space drones by Ken Camden on volume four to electronic noise sculpting by Jeremy Lemos and ambient soundscaping from Matt Jencik on the fifth.

Clark, a Chicago-based guitar player and one-half of the psychedelic drone duo White/Light, laid down his “SLC Suite” at Chicago's infamous Soma studios with support from Lemos on pedal-steel guitar and shruti-box and Frank Rosaly on drums. The American folk-inspired setting sees Clark playing acoustic steel string and electric lap steel guitar in a thirteen-minute meditation that opens in contemplative mode with solo finger-picking and strums before turning subtly cosmic and eventually rhythm-powered. Rosaly emerges subtly during the central section, his brush rolls and cymbal shadings nicely complementing the laid-back ambiance of the guitar playing, until the music kicks into gear with a robust swing to memorably take the piece home. It's a very satisfying piece overall, though I wish the last section lasted a tad longer. Recorded at Camden's home, the two pieces by the Chicago-based guitarist and Implodes member were generated using guitar with effects. The meditative psychedelic drone style of “Moisture” and “Algoma Summer” would appear to be worlds removed from Clark's acoustic scene-painting, yet the two sides make for a surprisingly complementary pairing. Camden's pieces differ from one another, too, with the second's harmonium-like gleam offset by a solo rumination of fuzz-toned grandeur. Think of the B-side as thirteen minutes of beautiful guitar-fueled dreamscaping whose graceful character amplifies their narcotic effect.

Strengthening the interconnections between the two volumes, Lemos plays alongside Clark in White/Light, while Matt Jencik, like Camden, plays in Implodes. Also like Clark, Lemos opts for a long-form setting in his contribution to the series, though his piece is hardly similar to his partner's “SLC Suite.” Recorded at the Women's Steam Room in Chicago, “Out with the Old” is a loop-heavy modular drone that over the course of eleven minutes blossoms from a lush field of multi-hued synthesis into a lumbering, convulsive meltdown. Like Camden, Jencik also contributes a pair of pieces to his volume, the first, “Conservative Fucks,” a short flirtation with blurry soundscaping and the second, “Hollow Bodies,” a six-minute moodsculpting exercise that swells from a state of blissful calm to controlled turbulence. If I were forced to choose, the fourth volume would be my pick—Clark's and Camden's pieces are both hard to beat—, but, as suggested, the two volumes are best taken together such that one can fully sample the stylistic contrasts on offer.

September 2012