The Glass Sponge

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Coelacanth's second CD offers a mesmerizing journey into the realm of the Quiet, if you are willing to make the effort this music demands. Giving to these four extended pieces any less than your full attention will let them turn into background noise. Loren Chasse and Jim Haynes use only raw, "natural" materials (pebbles, rice, wood, leaves, etc.) as instruments, amplifying and treating them with homemade electronic devices. The resulting music (which also seems to involve field recordings) has a dreamy, almost lo-fi quality to it. Discrete layers of crackling, rustling, brushing, and droning sounds are arranged to conjure up a foggy soundscape. Similarities can be detected with Kristoff K. Roll's use of very small objects, Xavier Charles' vibrating surfaces, or Entrelacs' ecological sound art, but Coelacanth's music is more firmly rooted in the drone than any of them. In "The Electric Hydrometer," the longest piece at 22 minutes, the duo makes good use of silence, each sound being carefully placed within the space-time continuum, to give listeners a chance to study them and revel in their simple beauty, while the next three pieces use more complex arrangements. "The Leaden Sea" relies more heavily on urban field recordings, adding the destructive mark of Man to Nature's enigmas. "The Hexactinellidae" and "The Violet Shell and Its Raft" suffer slightly from weaker passages, but The Glass Sponge remains an intriguing and enticing listen.

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