British-born but Berlin-based tuba player Robin Hayward (1969),
founder of the brass ensemble Zinc & Copper Works,
and a member of Phosphor that released Phosphor (Potlatch, 2002) and Phosphor II (Potlatch, 2009),
experimented a number of extended techniques on
Valve Division (Fringes, 2005),
Robin Hayward & Axel Dorner (Absinth, 2005)
States Of Rushing (Choose, 2010) and
Nella Basilica (Another Timbre, 2010).
Nouveau Saxhorn Nouveau Basse (Pogus, 2014) collects three
microtonal compositions for a home-made tuba-like instrument and for
interference among several loudspeakers.
The 22-minute Plateau Square is devoted to the
grandiose, majestic reverbs of the instrument,
not only resonating but also bouncing back and forth,
like a storm that refuses to fade away and keeps rumbling and threatening,
never quite coalescing. The tones are thick, almost massive, and the
spaces between each seemed to be chosen in order to mimic a slowly-unfolding
melody and even polyphonic counterpoint when in fact what is at work is
a visionary geometry of time.
The 32-minute Nouveau Saxhorn Nouveau Basse is another formidable
attempt at sculpting a music of symphonic gravity around discrete volleys of
agonizing nuclear clusters that progressively increase in frequency and
intensity until they start unleashing earth-shaking bass vibrations
that evoke alien starships. It then abandons its aggressive stance for
a phase of gloomy rumbling that hatches a hissing, glassy feedback similar
in timbre to the human voice, which remains the only surviving sound of
the enigmatic finale.
The album also includes
Travel Stain, technically a duet of tuba and guitar.
The two longer pieces indirectly stand as
spectacular revisitations of the dogmas of droning minimalism.
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