‘Striations’ consists of ten viola miniatures alive with incident and motion; Benedict Taylor’s usual explorative tunnelling and instantly reactive playing is here allied with an often punk-like flippancy; small locked circles of repetition are sliced and discarded in arcing, spark-shedding violence.
On ‘Striations’ Taylor again evinces the total control of his art that previous releases have displayed; which isn’t to suggest his music is mannered or self-regarding, meaning instead a command of the possibilities of the viola is always clearly evident. Each piece sounds like it could go anywhere: into explosions of ragged splinters; folkish woody finger-picking; gulfs of near-nothing; or scurrying movement.
These improvisations are bright with wide horizons; brief in duration but with more than enough invention to sustain repeated listens. Each gesture seems fuelled by the last but escapes linearity by a process of intuitive tangential darts. Short halting stabs may sustain a long bow which will collapse into buzzing rubble, the pieces picked over, tossed and juggled. Brief straight lines become bent and smashed, an atomisation where each particle is spun, examined and further manipulated. ‘Striations’ is a lesson in how to make constantly mutative and engagingly direct short-form improvisations. Highly recommended.
Grab a copy of ‘Striations’ here.