Medulla is the second studio CD by Transient v Resident (Martin Archer and Chris Bywater). It was produced four years after Electrical Shroud. The duo had a lot of time to evolve. While its late-'90s music focused on long, atmospheric electronic improvisations, Medulla is somewhat much closer to Archer's solo works (Winter Pilgrim Arriving, Pure Water Construction). The electronics are now firmly anchored in the electro-acoustic realm. Various chance and xenochronous processes were applied to the compositions -- both musicians supplying chunks of material that were combined to form pieces. Instrumentalists are heard on four of the six tracks, at times as part of the source material (Derek Saw's trumpet in "Claviform"), in other cases as live performers soloing over the pre-existing electronic track. This technique yielded the best results. Benjamin Bartholomew (Archer's partner in the duo Ask) provided beautiful acoustic guitar in "Hispid" and Kamalbir Singh a lengthy violin solo influenced by classical Indian music. The latter piece stands aside. First, it is much longer than the rest of the material (34 minutes). Second, it is the closest thing to "old" Transient v Resident. More dreamy, ambient, it was created through live improvisation. Singh added his part later, along with some hand percussion by Bywater. Medulla represents a big step forward for TvR. It leaps out of new-age electronica to fully embrace avant-gardist sound art.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture