Multikulti Project Spontaneous Music Tribune series MPSMT001
Four Barcelona-based improvisers, all featured previously on aJN, and this is their… what to call it?… pure-raw-sound-deep-ritual-improv-labels-need-not-apply project? Call it Völga, less an improvising quartet in the usual sense, more a creative noise unit…
It’s dense, idiosyncratic, forbidding even, most definitely fearless and, with its extended forms and often unrecognisable sound sources, certainly channels the spirit of AMM (as acknowledged in the liner notes) but the results are unique and personal.
Valdaí is comparatively kind. Reviriego’s bass lays out a series of sparse stepping stones, guiding the ear through a bubbling, bristling, eerie mass of sound. The other instruments are less recognisable as themselves, twisting, dissolving and coalescing in unpredictable fashion, evoking not so much a tune as carrion crows, sucking bogs, and crepuscular mechanisms.
Samara uses feedback and other, less obvious sources to create a bulging, sinuous dronescape – a proposed soundtrack to your most abstract nightmare that threatens to spill over into the daylight. We’re exploring territory way beyond traditional instrumental technique. Everything is prepared, extended and unforeseen.
Kalmukya is positively pastoral by comparison, at least, to begin with. Fragments of recognisable guitar are layered in the shrapnel remnants of a mechanical wasteland gone to seed.
Finally, Astrakhan throws out a scraping collage into which sinewy, meandering arco bass (I’m pretty sure that’s the bass) duets with electrical interference which gives way to percussive clicks and ticks, shimmering Tibetan bowls, brass glottal stops, overwound ratchets and ultimately a sense of uncertain sanctuary as three hypnotic notes repeat until entropy drops us into a slowly swirling chaos before a final outpouring of dense, unnerving energy.
In case you can’t tell by this point, I’m loving it.
The name Völga and the track titles clearly point to the Russian river and perhaps that’s the best way to approach this recording, as a journey from source to sea, winding its course according to natural landmarks and unnatural obstacles – don’t fight it, just let the current take you.