Sunday, April 24, 2011

Radiant Husk - Points and Lines [Bezoar Formations]/Sogol - Miniature Orbits [Bezoar Formations]

I really love Matthew Erickson's projects, dude's gotta be one of the more under-appreciated guys going today in my opinion, and this pair of tapes from Radiant Husk (Erickson's solo mainstay) and Sogol which I'm guessing is a one-off project by Erickson as well are two more entries that will continue to spread the gospel of Matthew. Erickson's Bezoar Formations imprint dropped these sometime last year and it looks like the label is gearing up to drop another batch soon.
Side A is christened as "Thermal Beings." It starts with waves of Erickson's signature reeds, which are accompanied by tapes, keys and wave machine on this recording. Erickson also jams it in the killer guitar/sax duo Sudden Oak, but where SO has a rough, evershifting sound, Radiant Husk slowly puts together these gorgeous little miniatures. The project doesn't generally work in the long form but develops a series of episodes through course of a side. Erickson's work here is so deliberate and in tune; he gradually builds these little hills before letting the sea in to erode them away. Then a solitary saxophone will often take the lead once more. Radiant Husk features one of the more unique saxophone voices out there, it's not really jazz and it's not your average basement reedage either. Erickson creates a complex field of sound with it; you could almost dive in. One of my favorite moments happens later on the side where Erickson tries to squeal through the lively swamp of loops he created. The other element at work here that has to be mentioned is the place of rhythm in the project. Rather than just looping sustained blasts of sax over and over (nothing wrong with that FYI) Erickson often creates these gentle, rhythmically complex and highly contagious tapestries.
The second side "Lines 1-7" begins with a single echoing saxophone grunting away in the silence. From the single sax it mushrooms into a sheet of sound before getting stomped out by a deep ominous reed growl. Over a cyclical set of loops Erickson delivers a brief solo before promptly moving into the next section, an almost tribal amalgam. This passage is shortlived as well and segues into a beautiful bit of filtered sax. The tape keeps moving, rapidly hopping from section to section. Quiet nudges of sound shift to cavernous reed squeaks and that's all folks.
I'm pretty sure this Sogol tape is Erickson as well. It's focused on keyboards but it still bears his stamp. Miniature Orbits is a perfect title for this tape as it's a pastiche of beautiful, stand alone miniatures. It's difficult to properly describe but the sections range from a minute or so to seconds long. They tend to be very minimal, some only featuring a few notes. There's some pause button stitchwork in here too, so if you're down with other keyboard/cassette combos out I'm sure you'd climb aboard here with no trouble. Some sections could be the sound track of a UFO hovering over San Francisco, others are more full, new agey and soothing. It's wonderful little tape, each nutshelled idea contributing to the whole.
The second side is much like the first moving between floaters and more grounded minimal bee-boop experiments. There's a rather long passage on the B-side that stumbles through echoing single key plonks, pitter-pattering around, dodging trebly pitch swells.
Pretty much everything with the Bezoar tag will be ace but these two both come highly recommended. It looks like there are still a couple copies of the Rad Husk tape kicking around Bezoar Formations but you'll have to seek the Sogol tape at the distros.

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