Anton Fier

Dreamspeed/Blindlight 1992-1994

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In 1992 Golden Palominos bandleader, producer, and drummer extraordinaire Anton Fier made the first of two solo recordings. Fier was experimenting with rhythms and textures, and furthering his interests in using primarily literary texts as inspirations and compositional devices. Indeed, Dreamspeed was composed and recorded one year before the groundbreaking Golden Palominos album This Is How It Feels. In the aftermath of the next Palominos outing, Pure, he issued his second solo outing, Blindlight, using some of the Palominos outtakes as the baseboards for new ones (in fact, many of the tracks here were recorded precursors to tracks on Pure). These two albums, previously issued only in Japan, have been issued in late 2003 on Tzadik in a deluxe double-CD package. This is a welcome reissue of these two seminal recordings that come off as sketchbooks of the ideas employed on the Palominos outings. Dreamspeed feels more organic. Its band is small, with Fier being accompanied by Bootsy Collins (on guitar), Bill Laswell, keyboard player Matt Stein, and Japanese vocalist Phew. Kazu Makino and Buckethead contribute on select cuts. The music is trance-like, heavily sampled -- although many of the samples are of Fier playing his own drums -- and fraught with a sense of foreboding and mystery. Its beats are big and layered and rhythm becomes the sole focus, though it is shot through with guitars and basses and other trappings. All of them serve the rhythmic complexities and drones. It's a series of polyrhythmic tone poems, actually, that are so delicious as to be forbidden and sexual; this album could have been rated NC-17, though there is no discernible -- for English speaking audiences -- risque language, but its rapture with obscenity is as complete as Bataille's or Baudelaire's. There is one bonus outtake from this session that did not make the album originally. The latter disc is its own dreaming reality, one that is more lush and seductive, but just as rapt in the notion of eros. Guitarists Nicky Skopelitis and Knox Chandler are present, as are percussionist Aiyb Dieng, and vocalists Lori Carson and Lydia Kavanagh. Texts were written by Phew once again. Here the lushness of the proceedings works toward finding not a resolution, but an escape hatch into alternate interior realities. These are meditative recordings that work on the level of the body and of the libidinal economy. Their lush textures and pulsing dynamics give way to a gorgeous sonic landscape that places the listener in a bubble of provocative, humid warmth. Here too is a bonus cut left off the original disc. This is music that by its very nature is dangerous, because it flirts with all the margins at once and feels as much like a novel as it does a recording. Plot and character are brought out in nuance and suggestion, rather than in concrete notions, adding to the depth of their seductive power. Fier is an author who's modern linguistic is a music that, despite using production techniques and loops from the 1990s, remains timeless and doesn't sound at all dated. Fier is a master of drama and landscape; these two outings offer a view of his many gifts, and set the inquiring listener to pondering where Fier's been the last seven years. Even if we don't know it on the conscious level, he is missed.

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