Nantes based Australian percussionist Will Guthrie consistently makes fascinating albums, always challenging and pushing the conception of what percussion is or can be. He’s one of the only people I ever seen live who could capture bottom end via contact mics, but that’s another story. Here he’s teamed up with UK electronic artist Mark Fell (SND), fresh from a quartet they shared with Oren Ambarchi and Sam Shalabi.
As a duo they’ve it’s actually quite difficult to tell them apart which is really quite unexpected. I’d guess that Fell is providing some kind of electronic percussion perhaps derived from Max MSP that Guthrie is then responding to. They’ve mentioned being inspired by Gamelan and South Indian Carnatic music, and it’s easy to draw these parallels in the clattering frenzy of the first track ‘Infoldings 1’. It’s chaos but its rigid, somehow ordered, following a non western logic that isn’t immediately apparent. It’s quite fascinating to marvel at the ingenuity of the work but have no idea who is doing what or even what they are doing. It would be fascinating to know if they knew. It’s experimental electro acoustic music, a kind of forward thinking 4th world missive that draws on divergent cultural practices yet places them within they’re own improvisational experimental world.
Seemingly improvised, yet somehow too precise to be, it’s music not so much concerned with musical dexterity as in attempting to create an entirely new form. The second piece ‘Infoldings 2’, they’re referencing the tabla, the sharp flurry of notes a world outside of 4/4 beats. There’s lots of metal in this one, and space, with Guthrie creating clanging reverberating tones that seem to drift across some lower key electrics from Fell. This piece is the more restrained and relaxing of the two, there’s no competition for space and the cadence is significantly lower.
Infoldings is a thought provoking album that overwhelms and seduces in equal measure. It’s rare that a work goes so far to challenge your sense of place and form, yet is still so inherently listenable – but you can’t for the life of you explain why.