Upstream and dab-hand nerve relexant, Ill professor, better academically known as Brian Harding from Chicago psych-rockers Zelienople, solos for Constellation Tatsu's latest tape. Up street shopping in the wood and string instrument department; the outing is comprised of Harding sampling from these devices exclusively; pins refractive relief, a pure wall-overdrive of steamed veggies, closer to aggregate than cross-context pudding.
The 8 pieces begin inconsequentially, a ragged, mildewed bowed string, richly meandering over time and space like a benefits magnet, not knuckling down to coherence and resulting engaging like Ed Barton’s “Life On Earth” series, pumped out the closet of The Radiophonic Workshop. As it progresses TRW is nearer stylistically, and leads nicely into down-pitched guitars and flute from “The Bird And The Moon”.
This music, grandiose in its muffled-ness, gains a few decibels of succor on “Slate Line”, the sprightly, sultry shoegaze chord arrangement planting a feeling of “Lapsed Time”, the next guitar and flute piece to gravitate between a musky whisky smell and snuffling out of a longer following piece length, one that’s made to highlight Harding’s versatility as a multi-instrumentalist. Utilising piano, over almost oboe-like yearning background chords, one of the biggest successes on “Wire & Air” to conjure a sense of place, and “The Jellyfish, The Whale And Me” only continues this trend.
“Sun Rise And Set” replenishes post-rock like Tortoise’s “Why We Fight” from the nineties, whereas “The Five Tones Deafen” really conjures to me a more austere Sawako of the “Incense Of Voice”, “Hum” LP era; all bubble-bath-fingered guitar notes and children’s voices. The detuned dulcimers add a nice edge to an already charismatic work, and mould the proximity for saying “‘Ambient’ can be many things, here are some of my favourite things”.
What I took most from “Wire & Air” is the “refractive relief” of the notation and instrument choices being like an anti-styled social-networking feed. Music, certainly, can be like that, not only for headphones closed-off-ness. Input number never equals a purer output than reality. Doctors have run tests on mental health patients who go into psychotic states with too much of one signal turned on, just like music lovers worldwide can experience too much overstimulation from sound being blurted out for too long. Gladly Brian Harding sees reality, and he’s done us proud.