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Microtub - Sonic Drift [Sofa Music - 2021]

Sonic Drift severs up two slices of buzzing ‘n’ pitch hovering bass composition played by this microtonal tuba trio. This relatively short CD appears on the always worthy/ interesting Norwegian label Sofa Music- which put out some of the more interesting in modern composition/ improv.

The CD comes presented in a digipak- this a fold-out six-panel affair, featuring a grey colour scheme, taking on its front cover a picture of a circular design, with pictures of the trio and their instruments inside. It’s as expected another nicely arty/ sleek bit of packaging from Sofa.

Microtuba is a three-piece that has been together since the early 2010s. For this release, the players are Robin Hayward- microtonal F Tuba, Peder Simonsen- microtonal C Tuba and modular synth on the second track, Martin Taxt- microtonal C Tuba.  In all the project has put out five albums, and I was rather taken/ impressed by the projects 2019 release Chronic Shift- which offered up three tracks highlighting the different side of the projects sound. With the release to hand- both tracks are fairly similar in their layout/ feel.

First up we have the title track, and this comes in at the 13.50 mark. The track is built around held 'n' pitch climbing tuba notation- we get the initial first deep and buzzing note sustain than slow but surely each player adds in their own-shifted up or down a pitch note. Together this creates a track that is both mournful and starkly hoovering in its glum and grim drift. As the track progresses the note sustains seem to be getting deeper and deeper into your boots, but I suspect in reality there are only one or two pitches- it’s just the way the three are playing that creates the feeling of continual gloomy sonic descent.

The second and final track here is the 13.07 of "The Pederson Concerto". Here one again we find a series of held then let go tuba notes- and this time instead of the fairly rapid pitch shifting of the first track, we get a lot longer sustains- so there is always one or another pitch that is droning away, as the others angular move around it. There is a slightly more haunting and mysterious feel to this track, though the grim glumness of the whole thing remains.

In finishing there is no doubt Sonic Drift is another highly distinctive sounding releases from this trio- and I certainly appreciate the hovering and pressing gloom of the whole thing. I just found that both of the tracks were a little too similar to each other, but when it’s a relatively short release like this it’s doesn’t get too tyring. I just wish maybe like on Chronic Shift they could have added in slight different setting/ effect for each track. Certainly, if you look for something oppressive and bass drone bound, you’ll get kick out of this. Head here to find more

Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5Rating: 2 out of 5

Roger Batty
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