Slip’s February 2017 Batch
The London/Berlin-based Slip imprint is getting 2017 off to a strong start with two deeply intimate, thrillingly adventurous releases set to land on CD, cassette, and download.
Julia Reidy’s Dawning On is comprised of three solo 12 string guitar meditations. Lazy points of reference for Reidy’s music would be the likes of James Blackshaw or Six Organs of Admittance, but she has managed to make her own unique statement in defiance of the familiarity of her instrument. Avoiding post-Fahey cliches, the tracks veer through frantic finger picking, droning pedal tones and aching harmonics. Opener, the side long “Surrounds Outlast,” is a masterpiece of casually built and brutally unresolved tension, creating a strangely personal world explored in closer detail in “Something I Could Do” and “Upwelling.”
Reidy’s guitar has been recorded with trembling clarity, revealing her subtle, dynamic touch. There is a morose melancholy throughout the album, but the sheer intensity with which each note is plucked and chord strummed carries an unrelenting fire.
Sam Andreae was last heard ecstatically deconstructing the saxophone on his 2015 Solo release on Manchester based Tombed Visions. Cows In Large Pastures marks another curveball from the Berlin based artist who seems to excel at them, coming across like an imaginary session for Smile for which Brian Wilson just told the performers to “let it all out.” Slip describe Cows In Large Pastures as “absurdist community music,” a description that perfectly summarizes the record despite conveying not so much.
A host of collaborators were recruited for the release, and the result is something primal yet playful, sitting somewhere between free jazz and dadaist theater piece. Human voices dominate the seven tracks, Andreae and co-conspirators bending, straining and twisting their vocal chords into cartoonish new timbres. Backing comes from a host of found objects used as percussion and occasional atonal blasts of instrumentation, as on track two “Curiously Tea She Said [VERANTWORTUNG3000 Aug 2016].”
It’s a release which is at times abrasive, others funny, yet always engaging — taking Phil Minton style vocal gymnastics into an ensemble setting. The press release explains the method behind the compositions: “Andreae’s pieces employ puckish graphic and text notation, each a collection of single pages which should be reordered and fucked with during performance.”
What comes across most in the recordings is the pleasure of making music in a group. Like Reidy’s album, Andreae’s is recorded in a deeply intimate way, as though the performers have set up shop in your bedroom/car/headphones. It means the infectious joy of the artists playing with each other can’t be escaped, spreading to the listener and pulling them into Andreae’s weird world.
Dawning On and Cows In Large Pastures will be released on 13th February, but are available to preorder now via Slip’s Bandcamp.