Saturday, February 16, 2008

Nathan Hubbard - Blind Orchid

Nathan Hubbard, percussionist, has appeared on a number of albums reviewed across the &etc years, mainly on Circumspection and Accretions. This solo album - Blind Orchid - is on Accretions (, ALP043) and is subtitled solo works for percussion and electronics. This release continues from his previous solo collection Born on Tuesday (circumvention SA081) and also complements ensemble releases Compositions 1998-2005 (circumvention CS121a/b) and Skeleton Key Orchestra (circumvention 039a/b) to give us a view of his developing oeuvre.

This is a very constructured, musique concrete album. i/nside (no exit) is a helter skelter of jumpy percussion creaking and groaning with a voice in the mix, which finally succumbs to a cracking up to break up (the lyrics are included in small writing in the diagram that accompanies the track in the booklet). more processing and piano resonance join percussion and voice in 17 stone park stutter/breath, with events occuring around a percussion solo (such as voice pops, and skittering hollows) that segues into a keening section and then complex rumbling rolling sounds with the piano twangs before a long slow fade. A simple drum solo and poem is Microhole; while another dense drumming solo, with some deep resonances forms Wisdom of not knowing II (for Stomu Yamash'ta).

The title track again carries us on a complex journey from fast distorted percussion into a pulsing tone, a simpler gonging central section, a voice crackle that builds a wave of percussion and feedback. A flowing percussion with tones and tinkles (possibly a sonographic tape) drops and rebuilds in Circle within a circle (for Max Neuhaus). Another normalish drum solo in Witchball breaks up through the processing and returns. A loose jack buzz opens Close to the margin with a metal percussion, building and speeding up over the track, layering, with a chittering end.

Not a simple percussion album - which makes it that much more interesting to me. Prepare to be unsettled as these constructions unfold before you in a complex weaving of processing and electronics, which my descriptions only begin to explore.

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