Glisten is the first collaboration between Melbourne guitarist and sound artist Tim Catlin and prolific Dutch producer Rutger Zuydervelt. Apparently Catlin recorded the pieces at home in Australia and then sent them off to Zuydervelt for more processing and overdubs, and it’s resulted in an album that is a really interesting fusion, quite different than either have previously produced. That said on certain pieces like the opener Strain or even the later Glisten 1 you can hear Catlin’s stately drones as the bed of these ambient works. Catlin prepares his guitar with all manner of imaginative implements, often playing with a e-bow or small fan, then processes these sounds. The other night improvising live at the Make It Up Club he was rubbing a giant comb across the body of the guitar, making it sound like frogs. However there’s nothing as disordered on display here, where he’s creating these gorgeous experimental drones, closer to the work on his previous Radio Ghosts (23Five). Though he also plucks and plays notes in a picking style, offering a quite diverse range of techniques. What sounds and textures Zuydervelt is bringing to the work is a little less defined or identifiable, though there are these moments of processed electronics that seem suspiciously like his handiwork. Due to its subtlety and lack of bluster (aside from the final third of Haul in which the sound builds into white noise) the peace of Glisten serves to lower the heart rate and also train the ears to operate on a micro level, to appreciate even the smallest gesture. It’s an incredibly still work of understated beauty, the layers of sound coming across in slow gentle carefully controlled waves, demonstrating the experimental can also be both elegant and restrained.
Bob Baker Fish