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CD Feature/ Samarkande & Oblivion Ensemble: "Split CD"

img  Tobias

Have Samarkande and the Oblivion Ensemble been listening to the same records? One could certainly assume so after this split EP, which was released on the occasion of two joint concerts early this year. Not that their contributions lack individuality or come as cheap derrogatives of 70s experiments – anything but, actually! But there is a common denominator in their approaches, which makes this a highly natural combination and a short (26 minutes), but extremely powerful two-track affair.

Part of the impact of this record can certainly be attributed to the fact that both bands have been in busines for quite some time: No matter how fresh and charming the utterings of an absolute beginner may be, the mastery over their instruments and the fluency of their arrangements is part of the special appeal of these intricate, minutely detailed and surprisingly curved tracks. Guitarist Brannon Hungness of the Oblivion Ensemble even used to play for the Glenn Branca ensemble and the halucinatory, alinear states of “I fall, sound[in]g her dream” suggest that the title of the project could just as well have been derrived from its effect on the subconscious as well as from the Professor Oblivion character from David Cronenburg’s bizarre “Videdrome” bonanza. In any case, every concreteness has disappeared as the trio juggles its way through cloudy harmonic allusions, sweeling and decongesting pulses and opaque aural tinglings, which culmonate in a sensous spoken word climax over a majestic root note. Samarkande’s contribution, meanwhile, is much more tangible but no less effective on a neural level. Opening with premonitious dark ambient textures and howling analog sweeps, the piece suddenly falls into a minimal groove with uplifting keyboard washes, tender chromatic flute lines, hushed whispers and bass bleeps, before returning to the void. The aesthetics of the electronic couriers come alive again, while modern technology assigns them a place inside a new, stimulating environment.

What binds these two pieces together is the will and the ability to take several ideas and mould them into a continous, uninterrupted, seemless and unforced entity. Taking that as a basis for a joint release may not be the usual way of genre-oriented packaging, but it is an approach which works wonderously well here. Even if Samarkande and the Oblivion Ensemble have not been listening to the same records, it is a good thing that their music is now bundled together on a single one.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Samarkande
Homepage: Oblivion Ensemble
Homepage: Static Signals Records

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