Sarah Peebles doesn't keep a busy release schedule, but as long as she puts out works this accomplished, this reviewer won't mind. Insect Groove is a delightful album blending field recordings, real-time electro-acoustic composition, and improvisation with real instrumentalists. Nature provides the main ingredients of this feast: buzzing insects, birds, water streams, presumably captured in the forests of British Columbia (Canada) to which the album is dedicated. To these sounds, manipulated and orchestrated by Peebles, a few select guests add their musical thoughts in the form of an open dialog. David Toop recites in "White Powder/The Spiders." Guitarist Nilan Perera, a regular partner of Peebles, appears on two tracks. Jin Hi Kim contributes some electric komungo (a Korean zither) in the title track, and Kô Ishikawa (of Otomo Yoshihide's Cathode fame) delivers a performance on shô in the last piece. The tiny mouth organ accompanies Perera's prepared guitar and samples of Tibetan bowls in a passionate yet very Zen improvisation. The submitted copy for review started with an uncredited 76 seconds of silence, after which "Nocturnal Premonitions" has all the desired room to startle the listener, sucking him into the composer's unique avant-ecological sound world. The back-and-forth movement between solo ambient, field recordings-based tracks, and "group" pieces establishes an easygoing pace. This album feels a lot less minimalist than Suspended in Amber. It has a lot to reveal to the attentive listener. Recommended.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by François Couture