Part two of a trilogy released in 2002-2003 on Nextera and Die Stadt, No Man Put Asunder: 7 Fruitful and Seamless Unions comes lavishly packaged in a wallet the size of an art poetry book, with a 12-page booklet of poetic prose. It may be a bit lame to mention the physical presentation before the music itself, but this is one of the most opulent designs out there (even by the already high standards established by previous Hafler Trio releases) and sure deserves an award. It contrasts with the music, among Andrew Mackenzie's most static drone works. The single 68-minute piece hovers and buzzes around a low fundamental, slowly altering its shape without ever transforming altogether. It doesn't have the microscopic details, the odd insertions (like voices or acoustic instruments, common to h3o pieces), or the overwhelming power necessary to capture the listener's attention for its whole duration. That's where the poetic prose comes in. This mysterious, equivocal drone offers great accompaniment to the oblique short essays. Of course, one feels compelled to read them as an explanation, comment, or rumination about Mackenzie's musical aesthetics. In fact, the author seems to sketch an art of being that encompasses music, humanism, and spirituality in rather philosophical terms: "There is no way to separate what is to happen, what is now occurring, and what was just in the view finder. There is no perception possible of anything in between; rather, that is all that there is, and just half the story. It craves to be joined, and this is the glue that informs the progress of events." (From "Tape in Place, Active.") It probably won't help to tell you that it constitutes an excellent description of the piece.
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AllMusic Review by François Couture