Sheriffs Of Nothingness - An Autumn Night At The Crooked Forest- Four Firepl [Sofa Music - 2020]Norwegian based Sofa Music are on the cutting edge of releasing creative & distinctive improv/modern composition- and this new release from the wonderfully named Sheriffs Of Nothingness is another prime example of this. The project is a string duo that creating droning, angular, sawing-at-times intense improv with nature/ landscape theme.
The album is presented in the form of a four-track CD, which runs at just shy of the seventy-minute mark. But before we discuss the project/release- we must talk about the rather eye-catching presentation of the album. The CD comes in a six-panel digipak- on it’s outside we a part of a terrain map marked with a red pen on four locations- which in the handwritten key our marked as Rock, Peak, Roots, Fireplace. Inside we find a middle shade red inlay, with just the minimal credits written small in one corner- all a classy, if slightly cryptic bit of packaging.
The duo Kari Rønnekleiv - Volin & Ole Henrik Moe- Viola have been active since 2011- releasing three other full-lengths(on Sofa) and one collab with Motorpsycho and keyboardist Ståle Storløkken.
Each of the four tracks here are fairly lengthy falling between fifteen and over the nineteen-minute mark. We open with “Hearth, Red Gloom, With Lot Near-Ir” here we the pair very much focused on creating a sustained, buzzing & hovering drone- which tonal is rather unharmoic-but-pressing in it’s intent. The whole track has a decidedly sour & buzzing quilty to it, bringing to my mind either a cloud of amassed bees drifting through a forest, or the sickly hover stench of woodland fungus, as the track progress there’s a nice feeling slowly dizzy pitch shift which pulls you deeper into the whole thing.
By track three “Muted Birch Logs” we’ve come to a more primal-later intense side of the record. The track starts with a sawing wood-on-wood tone, as the tracks open-ups the pair creating a dense mesh of largely higher ranged sawing & scrubbing which both create quite an angular-yet heady feeling- one wonders what state their instruments were in after this track?!.
The album is topped off with the longest track “Under-Ash-Embers, With Hints of Green Light In Spectrum”- this slides in at the 19.29 mark. It begins with a subdued blend of circling scraps & sudden woody snaps & clicks, having an almost organic ambient feel. As the track progresses the pair creating these sort of wheezing & whine scapes, that seem circling round & round in a rapidly picking up speed manner. At around the seven minutes, the whole thing becomes a lot tighter & taut in its attack, with more busy mid-range scrabs coming into play- but instead of letting it fall into all-out noise scraping the pair just keep it on the edge, creating at first feasting & buzzing feel, then later a closer & slight more intense swarming feel.
If looking for creative improv with very much of an atmospheric nature/ organic feel, then An Autumn Night At The Crooked Forest- Four Fireplaces(In reality only one) will most certainly be of interest to you.Roger Batty