Nick Hoffman – Barbarous Tongues

Posted by on October 16, 2014

BarbarousTongues

Nick Hoffman is the proprietor of Oregon-based Pilgrim Talk Records and a prolific experimental musician in his own right, and though the label seems to have been on hiatus since last year, his personal output at least remains steady. That growing body of work ranges from fields recordings and elaborate improvised collaborations (like his enthralling LP with  Takahiro Kawaguchi and Aaron Zarzutzki for Senufo Editions), to the varied CD before me, Barbarous Tongues, out on Japan’s Gravity Swarm Recordings. Like the atmospheric totems spread across its folded-poster packaging — tinted obelisks, a Celtic mask, and a wall covered in hanging dolls — this is a crafted object, resonant drones and tone patterns that without that sense of “craft” might each seem to build themselves from sheer weight of inevitability. Manipulated choral samples and the noisy perambulations of a distorted squiggle here and there add dimension to the listening experience, but the album’s biggest payoff is in simply tracing its movement from beginning to end. Grab the CD from Gravity Swarm, the perfect home for an album with as much heft and activity as this.