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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Z'EV & Nick Parkin - The Ascending Scale [Soleilmoon Recordings - 2011]

“The Ascending Scale” sits somewhere between electro acoustic improv, doomed & grating soundscaping,  bleak ambience and deeply creepy sound tracking. The album brings together highly respected & prolific percussionist Z’ev, and muilt-instrumentalist & improviser Nick Parkin.

The idea for this recording & collaboration came about when one night the pair visited the crypt beneath Christ Church, in Spitalfields, East London. Christ Church is  an early 18th century Anglican church designed by architect Nicholas Hawksmoor, a mysterious freemason who was fond of pagan symbols and was known in his day as the 'devils architect'. The crypt seemed thick with  atmosphere and alive with resonant acoustics, both of which seemed perfect for the pair to recorded & experiment in. 

Over 2008 & 2009 the pair recorded a series of solos and duets in the crypt, and then these pieces where edited together using varying degrees of electro acoustic processing to create the three pieces we find on the album “The Smoke”, “The Flame” & “The Ash”. The three tracks last between just over the fifteen minute mark to just shy of the twenty nine minute mark.

Each of the three tracks is a detailed & often complex sonic  mixture of metallic percussion, strings and wind instruments from Parkin, and percussion and bass drums from Z’ev.  Each of the tracks nicely shifts from tapered & sustained grim soundtrack like atmospherics, onto clunking ‘n’ brooding drifts, through seared ‘n’ edgy mixes of  morbidly battering percussive highs, onto malevolent & hissing noise scapes that hovering with a very tangible sense of dread..  The pair seemed to have infused each of the three tracks with an dramatic tension,  an eerier mood, a malevolent & effective selection of instrumental & percussive textures, and a great compositional  ear that makes all three tracks both atmospheric & rewarding in their ebbs ‘n’ flow & highs ‘n’ lows.


Truly this is a very captivating, darkly mood setting & deeply rewarding collaboration that seems to perfectly capture the dread, mystery and dark other-ness of subterranean London.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Roger Batty
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