London Electric Guitar Orchestra

7 Wholls

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7 Wholls is the fourth London Electric Guitar Orchestra CD released by 2:13 Music. The packaging contains very little information as to who is playing, what is played, and how it has been done. There is an acknowledgment to Fred Frith's graphic score "Dry Stone II," but each of the seven tracks is credited to a member of the LEGO as the composer. So were these adapted from/inspired by Frith's score? It remains unclear. What is clear is the organic nature of these mostly guitar pieces. There is much loop work, and it is not always seamless -- as in "Wholl #5," where it gets disturbingly clumsy. Most of the time, pieces build up slowly and resolve after eight to ten minutes of layered textural improvising. The aforementioned track is an exception, as it takes sudden turns a couple of times. John Bisset's "Wall" opens with his Derek Bailey-like playing style standing out among the rock riffers, soundscapers, feedbackers, and Robert Frippers. It's not all guitar though: Water bubbles and organ have important parts in "Wheal," and voice is at the core of "Whole." The speaker is sampled in real time and exits halfway through the piece, leaving a gripping one-second sample to persist for the remaining seven minutes, slowly being drowned by the guitar choir. After 15 minutes of a square and minimal riff, the track ends on an artificial tape slowdown process -- a disturbing highlight feeling like an answer to the highly melodious "Whaill," which opened the set. 7 Wholls (and the LEGO in general) is a different take on the guitar ensemble, miles away from both the League of Crafty Guitarists and Glenn Branca's symphonies.

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