Friday, 25 May 2007
Download Loris - Live at The Blurred Edges Festival (28:27)
Patrick Farmer: natural objects, e-bow snare, tapes, wood
Sarah Hughes: chorded zither, piano, e-bow
Daniel Jones: turntable, e-bow, piezo discs, electronics
The Cat from Cat Hill is available from Another Timbre
“The slow loris, of course, is a notably sluggish primate hailing from southeast Asia. Loris, here, is Patrick Farmer (natural objects, e-bow snare, tapes, wood), Sarah Hughes (chorded zither, piano, e-bow) and Daniel Jones (turntable, e-bow, piezo discs, electronics) and if they move slow (they don't really) they're thinking fast, pace Wolff, and the results are gorgeous. Enormous range of sounds, very open feel. How to quantify except to say that the choices made, subtle to brutal (and there's a surprising amount of fierceness in play here) seem utterly apt. The various flutterings and spare piano that begin the second cut, "Sophie", for example; the way the e-bow (?) intersects them. Each piece unfurls at its own pace, each telling a lovely, sometimes harsh story. Beautiful work, highly recommended.”
- Brian Olewnick, Just Outside
“Despite that feline title, and as any skoolboy noes, lorises are slow-moving nocturnal primates that inhabit dense vegetation in South Asia. And Loris - Patrick Farmer, Sarah Hughes and Daniel Jones - improvise sounds that inch forwards so gradually, almost reluctantly in fact, that your brain can’t properly compute the totality of their creeping sonic forestation at any given moment. These improvisations, to borrow Evan Parker’s famous catchphrase, are instinctively laminal as sustained tones from Hughes’s zither (the only element that vaguely harks back to ‘music’) dovetail against crackling feedback and the more feral terrain of Framer’s crunched twigs and arrythmic earth. Shifts of texture occur sporadically and without seismic structural earthquakes; the music just seems to know, and goes there.”
- Philip Clark, The Wire
“Patrick Farmer, Sarah Hughes, and Daniel Jones are young London-based improvisers who are just starting to get some visibility. As with many releases like this, a look at the instrumentation (natural objects, e bow, tapes, chorded zither, piano, turntable, piezo discs, electronics) gives no clue as to what this music might sound like, though knowing that a loris is a slow-moving tree-dwelling primate might give you an idea. Farmer, Hughes, and Jones weave together collectively improvised striations of texture and activity that gather density and form with slow deliberation. The pieces unfold from a palette of hyper-amplified vibrating surfaces, electronic hum, and resonant strings. What's striking here is how each sound, each thread of activity, is placed within the context of the whole.
The improvisations have an almost sculptural presence, offsetting engulfing low-end rumble by sputtering crinkles, luminous sinewaves, and the judicious use of string vibrations from zither and piano. Semaphores of flickering activity float across fields of resonant drone. There's an organic warmth to the sound of electro-mechanical pulses and clicks melded together with the ringing tone of a hammered piano note or the rustle of amplified objects. Across the three collectively improvised pieces, the trio purposefully parse out pace and momentum, density of sound, and dynamic arc, creating a absorbing intensity. That sense of arc is acutely evident in the final piece, "Newts Under Concrete," where coursing loops of static emerge after a lead-in of 90 seconds of inky silence. The volume gradually mounts as crackles and squawks build into a forceful, enveloping wall of sound shot through with wafting details. With The Cat from Cat Hill, Another Timbre delivers yet another gem.” - Michael Rosenstein, Paris Transatlantic
“This is one of those CDs that, if I just tried to describe the music literally, will sound very much like so many other CDs. There are sine-like tones, contact mic crackles, turntable hisses and scratches, extended fuzzy sections and a continual sense of brooding calm, but then that could describe a couple of dozen CDs I have mentioned here this year. What makes The Cat from Cat Hill such a pleasure for me personally though is in the subtlety of the sounds chosen. This is a difficult thing to describe in a way that makes sense to anyone but myself. Generally speaking, each musician contributes one sound at a time, which they let slip in and out of proceedings at a slow, slow pace. So Hughes will let an eBowed zither note hang in the air, as Farmer rubs dry twigs against a contact mic and Jones will later introduce a gentle feedback hum, but each of these sounds will be very carefully picked out as being the ideal fit for those around it. So we don’t just hear a musician add a whine or a series of scrapes, we hear them carefully craft them to either blend perfectly, or on occasion dramatically alter the sounds already there. This might just sound like a description of what every musician tries to do, but here there is a feeling to me of great care taken over the quality of individual sounds chosen, and of when and how they are introduced into or removed from the music. This just sounds very considered music to me.
If I am to criticise the album at all it may be just to say that there aren’t enough surprises, and that on the whole it does exactly what I expect it to, though maybe this is just the result of my familiarity with these musicians’ work. When Jones adds a tiny repeatedly chirruping electronic signal to proceedings (the result of capturing the electromagnetic output of an iPod’s hard drive I believe) I know it will run for a while as a kind of slow, primitive clicktrack. When Hughes plays a single low note on a piano and then lets it decay slowly I fully expect an identical one a few seconds later. As I say, on paper the music of Loris is somewhat predictable, but listened to carefully under the right conditions this album is very beautiful and thoroughly rewarding.
Like the group’s namesake (the name Loris comes from Hughes and Farmer’s huge love of animals, and in particular here the rennowned shy, slow loris) the music moves at a very gradual pace and slides out of your speaker into hidden corners of the room rather than leaping out and throttling you. It isn’t entirely polite though, and on occasion will make the cones of your speakers vibrate wildly, so turning the volume up high, which at times feels the right thing to do is later rewarded by a sudden lunge for the dial to bring it back down. The overall sensation though is one of a calm but invigorating massage of the eardums, a very lovingly crafted and finely detailed wander through some beautifully interconnected sounds. Yet more fine stuff from Another Timbre.” - Richard Pinnell, The Watchful Ear
“Loris is Patrick Farmer playing natural objects/E bow snare/tapes/wood, Sarah Hughes on chorded zither/piano/E bow and Daniel Jones supplying turntable/E bow/piezo discs and electronics. Their music is constructed of minimal gestures that seem at times borrowed directly from nature-witness the fuzzy crackling and odd insectile sounds at the start of the first track, "A Heron and a Terrapin", which has a very natural sounding sway from quiet activity to near silence and back. The electric hums seem to enter at just the right moment, nothing is out of place, and if I tried hard I could probably identify the sound sources, but I'd rather just listen.
A single repeated piano note begins "Sophie", encased in room reverb and shape-shifting slightly, with more crackling and circular dragging-type sounds that slowly take on a metallic edge. A building hum and some feedback, rustling and the piano note again. Sounds like someone cleaning up next to an elevator or air-shaft. Until the feedback changes pitch and subtle ratcheting joins in. The piano is still there, but becoming blurrier, losing focus. The whole builds to a quiet roar which sounds like many more than three people. Reminds me a bit of AMM at times, and at others a room full of old tin toys.
"Newts Under Concrete" is quietest yet, until the electric storm starts spinning around two minutes in. A worn-out gramophone needle on the lead-out of a worn-out record, scraping the label. It gradually becomes apparent that there are a group of sounds here, as the components separate and develop individually in a unique reverse dove-tail. More feedback and some steam congeal together and one section seems an odd distorted mirroring of the previous track.
The thing I enjoy most about "The Cat From Cat Hill" is the way this music fills up my room. Even at relatively low volume levels I can stand up and actually walk around in it. Whether this is due to the nature of the sounds themselves, or the beautiful recording I know not. At just under 45 minutes playing time though, it seems all too short.” - Jeph Jerman, The Squid’s Ear
“.... Another theory here is that when musicians from the field of improvisation get together on a regular basis they might want to use a band name. I guess that's the idea here with Loris, a trio of Patrick Farmer (natural objects, e-bow snare, tapes, wood), Sarah Hughes (chorded zither, piano, e-bow) and Daniel Jones (turntable, e-bow, piezo discs, electronics). Their music is largely based on drones from the zither, snares and on the other hand each members supplies a sufficient amount of crackling sounds, from those objects and the turntable. They make an excellent combination. The overall sound being quite densely layered, quite deep, with lots of the bass end, but with those high end crackles every now and then. Seeing this mastered by Robert Curgenven might give you a clue as to what Loris is about as there are quite some similarities between Loris and Curvengen. Great release.” - Frans de Waard, Vital Weekly
"The trio Loris is formed by the sound creators Patrick Farmer, Sarah Hughes and Daniel Jones, who play on various possible instruments from natural objects to a special zither, a piano and, of course, turntables, tapes and electronics. The result is a beautiful kaleidoscopic collage that proves that any chosen means are able to create a truly meaningful, or a beautifully organic, non meaningful amalgam. 'A Cat from Cat Hill" may even resemble some abstract computer game which brings us to the infinity of imagination without the shooting scenes or business transactions. If there ever is a "strategy", it is one of discovering beauty in sometimes partially tuneless tones and crackles. Actually, I think that this would make an amazing CD for children who are not yet affected by the pressure from commercial recordings or by musical idioms and influences. Sure, they would be little fidgeting every now and, but they would probably find those playful places and would then be better equipped for perception of this sort of musical substance in the future. I think doing a special children's remix would be a good idea – a version for those one-year or two-year little ones. A little bit crazy idea, you may think, but perhaps not that bad, on the other hand." - Petr Slaby, Raw