Review of Not A Leaf Remains As It Was [12k1069]

Norman Records (UK)

Peters and Roden have been toying with the idea of putting out a ‘vocal’ album since they toured together with vocalist Anna Homler back in 1995. After pondering the project for some time the duo finally settled on a thematic idea and set to work translating that idea into music. The result is Not A Leaf Remains As It Was, a delicate collection of improvised voice experiments based loosely on a book of Japanese Jisei poetry written by monks and interpreted by the duo in both English and Japanese. You can tell there’s a reluctance on the part of the artists to attach lyrical meaning to the voice and hence this is essentially an exercise in phonetics and the manipulation of the voice as an instrument. These abstract, structureless vocal experiments are backed by a selection of acoustic instruments and noises played in as equally an abstract and sparing manner. You can hear leaves rustle, shells crack, melodica’s drone and ivories tinkle. It’s difficult to describe this as anything more than sparing and minimalist. The voice brings to mind Sigur Ros frontman Jonsi Birgisson’s approach to mashing language and phonetics to his own gain so if you like that then you may enjoy this. It’s certainly a very peaceful affair.

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