Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Review from Foxy Digitalis for the
(D)(B)(H) / Seeded Plain & Hal Rammel split LP

"(D)(B)(H) and Seeded Plain split sides on this LP of improvised music. Both groups demonstrate multiple modes of listening and performing through unique instrumentation and performance. (D)(B)(H) plays live on Bloomington Indiana’s WFHB community employing Marty Belcher on saxophones, Justin Clifford Rhody on trumpet, tapes, guitar, harmonica and cymbals, Kray Korvella performs metal objects, tapes, guitar and radio and Daniel Wick rounds out the ensemble on percussion. Seeded Plain is Brian Day and Jay Kreimer on homemade instruments joined on this recording by Hal Rammel and his amplified palette.

The side long improvisation from (D)(B)(H) – “Bad for Business” – illustrates improvisation predicated on listening and emulation as much as it highlights ingenuity and performance. The instrumentation blends together as much as it stands on its own, at times the saxophones and guitars are intertwined in sustain so that it’s hard to discern feedback from howl. Yet there are moments of certainty wherein each instrument executes its known characteristics. The pace of the piece revolves around the transference of ideas between players, which come and go, entertained and forgotten at a leisurely rate. This is not to say the piece is without intensity, while silence and restraint are employed by all performers so are noise and abandon. There is an overall quality to this recording of finding or creating a language. There is as much frustration in the performance as there is elation. The balance between these two elements makes for an engaging listen.

Seeded Plain and Hal Rammel utilizes modified everyday objects as their instruments. Brian Day and Jay Kreimer use a collection of disparate materials ranging from tape measures to golf balls, however much of their instruments are built from raw materials such as metal rods, wood and various strings and springs. Both Day and Kreimer amplify their instruments and use some form of processing. Day opts for pedals while Kreimer uses a laptop. Hal Rammel’s electrified palette is a painter’s palette which he has attached tines to the edges making it similar to an Mbira which he can pluck or bow. There is a distinct richness in the tones which are culled from these creations which without their modifications would be unheard. The sounds range from lush bell-like sounds and singing bowls to grading scraping and attack heavy percussion. Many of the sounds could well be electronically generated due to the use of amplification, however the clarity and density of the sounds reinforces their acoustic origin. Seeded Plain and Hal Rammel perform with a more “all over” aesthetic as compared to the minimal moments of (D)(B)(H) – both sides engage the listener in an active listening situation that finds each play of the LP revealing new intricacies."

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