‘Think Away’ by Delphine Dora (piano) and Sophie Cooper (trombone) is magical in an ambiguous Studio Ghibli sort of way. Their music captures a sense of the uncanny that is on the border between menace and wonder; a Leonora Carrington reading would benefit from a live improvisation from these two musicians. ‘Stillness and Movement’ pairs delicate proliferating piano ripples with a wheezing buzz that wraps the piece in a soporific haze; calm like The Necks in a particularly contemplative mood. ‘Des Roches et de L’Eau’ falls stridently on the menacing side of the magic divide: clacking percussion, vocal drones and brass bellows, echoed trombone blasts filtered through electronic effects as whispers loop and mount like escalating distant birds, increasingly gathering on a humming wire. The highlight is a long-form final track (‘Invisible String’); a lushly weird meditation: machine purrs, mouth pops, indistinct muttering and smeared choral moans that beautifully capture the atmosphere of a fantastic gig I saw them play at the Café Oto last year.
The sounds on ‘Think Away’ exist in a captivating psychedelic swirl, Sophie and Delphine revolving and condensing around one another, attuned closely to each other’s imaginative worlds. Blurred dream logic pervades throughout: the improvisations often wobble like rickety scaffolding but collapse, blancmanging into a richly rewarding fusion of inventive and welcoming music. Sometimes sounding ritualistic, but without dogma or scheme, like they’ve no idea what they’re summoning or why, just pulling the curtain back inquisitively. A set of ambiguous conjurings to be Spirited Away by, drifting between rapture and concealed threat; renderings of amorphous phantoms uncertain whether to physically form with tentacles and teeth or clawless cuddling cartoon paws.