Martiensgohome ~ Tétraèdre

The Brussels quartet Martiensgohome wanted to try something different, so each member improvised a solo piece using sound sources contributed by the others.  The gentle B and C feature subdued transmissions: hums, rustlings and quiet drones, topped by electronic beeps and murmurings.  The febrile A and D contain the action.  This makes Tétraèdre a fine choice for a net release, as listeners may choose to concentrate on the contrast or simply pick a pair; for this reviewer, it’s A and D all the way.

The speaker-to-speaker firefly buzzes of A are swiftly joined by other nocturnal sounds, including that of what might be a chickadee.  But this is no nature recording.  An echoed sine, like the hoot of an owl, rests atop wooded footsteps, but an otherworldly force seems to be in pursuit.  Metallic tones give way to synth drones, as if a crop circle is in the process of being made.  The last eight minutes grow thick and exciting, producing a fog filtered by stabs of laser light, trailing off only as a favor to the humble B.

D is even better, beginning with motors, clanks, conversations and reverbed guitar.  It’s like being at the corner of a Brussels cafe at lunch hour: traffic in a snarl, motorcycles honking and pulling away, espresso cups clinking as they are removed.  But then, pop!  At 4:37, everything changes.  Dark bass descends like an eclipse.  It takes a while for the drones to recover from the shock, peer out from underneath the tablecloths and emerge into the newly-shadowed world.  But when they do, the results are oh-so-lovely: sheets of sheer tone, sprinkled with high-pitched sugar.  Those patient enough to listen to the end of albums and read to the end of reviews will find a sonic treasure.  (Richard Allen)

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