Listen to the subtle experimentation of “Poltergeist” from Nick Ashwood and Laura Altman’s new work


This piece comes from a recording made by Nick and Laura in a concrete bunker in Alexandra Battery in lower Sandy Bay Hobart, where they used the reverberations of the space to record. They’re using clarinet, small amp feedback, tape players + cassettes, small objects, acoustic guitar and e-bows. It’s a fascinating work, particularly delicate and spare. There’s a real sense of exchange here, as each offers a series of gentle gestures as they build their unique sound experiments up together. Strangely it’s the kind of music you forget your listening to and are only drawn back periodically, such is the restraint of their combined improvisational approach.

Nick and Laura first met in 2017 and have been playing together both as a duo and in Sydney’s iconic Splinter Orchestra since.

This album comes from a new digital sub-label of Sydney’s excellent Splitrec, which has been platform for releases by Sydney-based artists and collaborators affiliated with Splinter Orchestra. Caterpillar has been established for the duration of the novel coronavirus situation in Sydney. More than likely due to the fact that improvisational musicians have been particularly hard hit by the impossibility of performing live at present.

You can find it here.


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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.