Review of Live In Melbourne [12k2008]

Boomkat (UK)

Releases like this really hit home how far the 12k label has travelled since its all-electronic beginnings in 1997. Recorded live in Melbourne last year, this disc captures three performances by the current generation of 12k recording artists (including label boss Taylor Deupree), focusing on music that features an element of interaction between cutting edge digital technology and more conventional, acoustic instrumentation. 12k newcomers Solo Andata are up first, making their debut appearance for the label a couple of years down the line from their excellent full-length release for Hefty, Fyris Swan. The duo fuse abstract, tonal experiments with more melodically coherent jazz influences. There are grounds for comparison with the more experimentally leaning works of CCO acts like Dictaphone and Swod, particularly given the beautiful, ornamental piano phrasings dotted around the opening of the performance. The music continues to shift and evolve over the next quarter-hour or so, combining laptop processes with bowed drones, string plucks and tuned percussion. It’s one heck of a way to make an entrance into the 12k catalogue. Next up, Seaworthy once again demonstrate that they’re a highly unusual band. Somehow the three-piece manage to reconfigure the 12k microsound template via the use of slightly mucky electric guitar, organic drone treatments and subtle looping techniques. As was the case with their debut album for the label, Map In Hand, the group combine the idiom of Loren Connors with lowercase ambience. It’s a combination that yields remarkable success, and leads nicely into Taylor Deupree’s concluding set, which is without doubt the least dynamic of the three performances, but also arguably the best. Deupree’s rich, perfectly proportioned ambience sounds a little more fragile and rickety than usual, largely due to the compromised fidelity of the recording. It’s hardly extreme, but in comparison to the immaculate sound quality we’re used to from this artist, we’re in lo-fi territory. That suits the tone of the disc perfectly though, somehow humanising the crisp, pristine brilliance of Deupree’s sound and aligning it with the earthier sounds of Solo Andata and Seaworthy. No dawdling on this one, it’s strictly limited to a run of just 500 copies for the world.

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