Lodz – Settlement / Clouds Once Before Molten Rock – Live in Alsager (Wild Silence)

Wild Silence is a label run by Delphine Dora. Not settled on any particular genre or mode of playing, it instead releases a diverse range of recordings, from Delphine’s own piano explorations to the wilder territory of Mami Wata’s haunting voice and glassworks. The label’s two most recent releases are typically captivating.

a0563682081_10Lodz is an alias of Pauline Nadrigny , working in piano and electronics. Her music on ‘Settlement’ is composed sparsely but still conjures a lushness of sound. Electronics like pixelated breath. Looped wordless vocals. Sung/spoken poetry; the piano making melodic ladders for the words to ascend. Metallic squeals. Multi-tracked voices, doubling and chattering like birds alighting on a fence. Ringing feedback tones. Microphone thuds. Field recordings of rain and bells. Theremin-like sustained choral sighs. Cars swishing over wet roads. Clipped, pinched vocal-delivery in the more conventional song-form moments. Childrens’ voices, sharp whistles and calls. Gongs tolling in double bursts of bass resonance. Whisper-babble. Splashy thumb-piano. Sunshine drone and quaking rumbles. Dialogue at the edge of breathlessness.

 

All tied together within brackets of silence. There is a sparkling stillness sustained throughout ‘Settlement’. The experience of listening to it is like having a strong light shining in your eyes, a feeling of being unanchored and floating in a glare. A work of beautiful, understated avant-pop songs, loosely woven.

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Clouds Once Before Molten Rock – Live in Alsager is a recording of an improvised performance from this scratch psych orchestra. The band features, among others, Sophie Cooper, Delphine Dora, Kelly Jayne Jones and Mika de Oliveira, deploying a diverse instrumentation of Walkman, trombone, electronics and trombone, amid a multitude of other sound-making objects.

 

Beginning with drone swirls, keening whistling scratches, and clanging and rustling, resembling the tuning-up of a space-chamber ensemble. The at-first tentative melding of minds and expression proceeds unhurried. A twanging koto knotting the disparate whisps together with a constant taut dextrousness amid all the gaseous drift. A vocal gaggle and soft plangent song joins. Rattling percussion. The hiss and burble of electronics. A melodious languageless chant begins at some obscure signal. The brassy breath of trombones. Acid-etched scrawls of dissonance.

A mass-improvisation of real emotional heft and beauty. A four/five-note motif comes and goes (depending on which instrument picks it up) and forms a winding path through the dense thickets of activity. Plunging your ears into the undergrowth is often essential to pick out individual contributions making up this captivating long-form sound séance. Around half way there is a blaring density created by Sophie Cooper’s trombone that surges up in bright neon pink from the soft relenting ground-fog that had previously roiled around undisturbed.

‘Live in Alsager’ is a brilliant long-form sound-weave, an industrious looming of bioluminescent strands forming a real continuity of action, a group of busy spiders making a bizarre and wonderful web to a moment-by-moment plan, conceived by chaotic committee.

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