Spill – Stereo (Corvo)


Stereo is a studio recording by the Berlin based duo of percussionist Tony Buck (The Necks) and pianist Magda Mayas (Great Waitress).

In a sense it’s almost like a percussive duo, with a myriad of sounds thrown haphazardly onto the canvas in the hope of some kind of accidental order. The press release suggests the duo are responding to some previously recorded material, developed over years of live performance together, and it seems entirely possible, as it definitely sounds like more than a duo, both in terms of the density and different timbres.

If you’re familiar with the work of either party it’s probably a given that you never really know who is doing what. In the Necks Buck sounds like some kind of one man gamelan orchestra, whilst Mayas isn’t afraid to experiment with amplification, preparations and objects that become extensions of her instrument. There’s no denying that they merge together well, feeling like one twitchy scattered entity. Density builds over the course of both pieces, patterns emerge and sounds begin to run together, before periodically dropping away creating some space and building again. The focus is less on groove or melody, and much more on timbre and density.

It’s improvised music, where spacialisation is as an important compositional tool as instrument selection. Sounds ring out and reverberate from across the stereo field. Crescendos build with earth shattering significance, enveloping the piece before dispersing providing space before the next incursion forward. It’s curious, despite the diversity of timbres and periodic flurries, given its stop start nature there’s never really much feeling of momentum. The question remains, where are we? And where are we going? The answer is of course why focus on such insignificant questions? Shut up and embrace the moment.


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Bob is the features editor of Cyclic Defrost. He is also evil. You should not trust the opinions of evil people.