Terrence Dixon
Ten Favourite Labels 2012

1982 + BJ Cole
Oren Ambarchi
Alexander Berne
Born Gold
Carlyle & Cox
Kate Carr and Gail Priest
Paul Corley
Roland Etzin
Yuichiro Fujimoto
Godspeed You! Bl. Emp.
Ivar Grydeland
Sophie Hutchings
Kane Ikin
Jeanne Jolly
Paul Mac
Michael Mayer
David Michael
David Newlyn
No Regular Play
Oskar Offermann
Olan Mill
Roomful of Teeth
Bruno Sanfilippo
Valgeir Sigurdsson
The Sleep Of Reason
Jessica Sligter
Slow Dancing Society
Prins Thomas
The Use Of Ashes
Maarten van der Vleuten
Stian Westerhus
Wires Under Tension
Woolfy vs. Projections

William Basinski

Elektro Guzzi
Porya Hatami
Maps & Diagrams
Stephan Mathieu
Michael Trommer

Paul Corley: Disquiet
Bedroom Community

Patient and close listening is needed in order to fully appreciate Disquiet, the understated debut album by American composer Paul Corley, which features four deeply atmospheric and richly textured pieces, most of them presented at exquisitely slow tempi. Accompanied by Ben Frost and Matthew Collings (guitar, programming) and contrabassist Borgar Magnasson, Corley shows himself to be a masterful sculptor of sound, someone capable of shaping myriad fragments into meaningful wholes of dramatic import. Glitches and hiss act as subtle pulses and smears alongside of which delicate piano phrases (sometimes prepared piano) and bass tones appear, with the elements collectively cohering into haunted dreamscapes.

The title of the opening piece “She is in the Ground” suggests that Corley isn't shy about encouraging programmatic associations with his work. And sure enough, the eight-minute setting presents itself as a brooding meditation reflective of the mournfulness felt by a survivor of the deceased, perhaps a spouse, friend, or family member. The material itself is ambient-drone in style, with the creak and rustle of outdoors field recordings and a shimmering backdrop of programmed textures offset by the ruminative meander of acoustic piano playing. The insistent attack of a fuzz-toned electric guitar lends “Narrow” an urgency absent from the other pieces, which are content to unfold with confident languor. “Narrow,” on the other hand, amps up the intensity, even when its guitar textures are stabilized by the metronomic pulse of piano and bass. The most beautiful of the album's four settings, however, is the title track, which plays like an extended elegy or requiem when silken string figures and ambient piano shadings combine to create a fragile mass that drifts in slow-motion for a time-suspending fourteen minutes. When the elements fall away during the final minutes to leave the piano chords almost entirely alone, the effect is almost heartbreaking, and that Corley has been able to create that effect on his debut recording is nothing short of remarkable. In short, the recording earns its recommendation on the strength of the title track alone.

November 2012