Lee Patterson/ Samo Kutin - The Universal Veil That Hangs Together Hangs Like [Inexhaustible Editions/ Edition FriForma - 2020]
This rather wonderful-if-macabrely titled release is a six-track collab, which sits somewhere between buzzing 'n' mind-expanding drone matter, atmospherically simmering electro-acoustic texturing, and general ambient 'n' ethnic flavoured improv. If I was to compare it to anything I’d say a sparser/ more pared-back Starving Weirdo’s, or maybe Hwyl Nofio at their more starkly serrated- though this release does has its own subtly surreal and trippily unease flavour, which really does gets deep into your marrow. The release appeared late last year, as either a crystal clear vinyl or a CD in a fold-out digipak - both of which had an edition of just 300 copies. I’m reviewing the latter.
The six-panel digipak is a clean and sleek white coloured schemed affair- this features on its front a blurred and abstract patterned circle on the front cover. And inside we get a picture of the two collaborator’s, and a wonderfully weird two-page story by David Toop, which adds to the already odd and uneasy images that drift through your mind when listening to this album.
The two collaborators here are British sound artist Lee Patterson (1971)- who utilizes a selection of amplified devices and processes here. And Slovenian Samo Kutin (1982) whose main instrument is the hurdy-gurdy, which he manipulates/ adjust for often great otherworldly/ and triply droned out effect.
The album opens up in decidedly sparse-yet-pressing form with “The Rising Path”. Here we find a three/ possible four-layered drone, taking in the hazing buzz of the hurdy-gurdy, and constantly rolling-to-simmering sustains that sit in the more mid-range spectrum. The track works as a great pared almost ritual-like opener that wonderfully ushers us into the album.
As we move on, we come to eerier textural crackle ‘n’ pop meets foreboding slightly oriental pluck 'n' sear of “The Universal Veil”. Or the wonderful malevolent & twitchily insect-like unease of “Mantis”- which is built around a distorting-yet-woozy blend earthy twangs and buzzers, creepily bubbling water tones, eerier textural circling, and tiny legs like scuttles 'n' scratches. The album is topped off with the longest-running track here “Traveling Hopefully, which is Better Than Arrive” which sees the pair bringing a mesh of slightly different droning tones and slowly searing pitch hovers, to create a wonderful feeling of woozy un-balancement, with as the piece progresses each drone seemingly subtle churning ‘n’ burning into each other.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve found my self-compelled to play this album again and again- as it’s both atmospherically entrancing in its strange eerier-ness and expertly tooled in its sonic make-up. If I’d have heard this album sooner, it would easily have been on my best of 2020 list. If you like drone bound and decidedly moody improv/ electro-acoustic sound-making, this is a must!....and it’s neat it comes in two separate formats. Head here to pick up a copy directRoger Batty