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Directing Hand, "Beast In"

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Taking a sidestep from Directing Hand’s vision for folk forms and improvisation, this live set is a collective's ecstatic field holler for escaping reality. Recorded at 2005's Glasgow Instal festival with a cast noise/free luminaries such as Dylan Nyoukis, Phil Todd, Karen Constance, Ben Reynolds and David Keenan, Alex Neilson leads a 30 minute charge of the doors of constraint.



Built on a bed of heavy duty cymbal flutter, melody is a transitory thing with zither and didgeridoo styled drones stretching over the piece. Coaxing chain mail butterflies from his rattling kit, Neilson again rescues the instrument from its rhythm prison. At times its polymath Neilson's vocal soars over the top, keeping him the source and center of the sound. The batter and clatter of his bent spine percussion structure may fade in and out of range, but even when his hammering workout turns down to the feathering of drums, the approach is unmistakeably that of the ensemble's leader.

Huge swathes of reverb meltdown broaden and oscillate like lawnmowers taking the heads of the wicked; Beast In redolent of a scorching, purging fire. Layer upon layer of solo players choosing their steps carefully means that this is not another hard-as-you-can festival piss-up outpouring. Heavy elements mount and plunge, making something more fragile then the sum of its individual parts. There are blasts of sugar overfuelled reed work over warm washes of twinkling percussion forming between the mud flats hum of escaping feedback. The second half of this single piece seems to be centered on some light refracted guitar work (either by Ben Reynolds or Ashtray Navigations' Phil Todd) which reaches for the skylight with hemp dirtied fingers. Oddly reminiscent of some of the laser-seared edges of My Cat Is An Alien's electronics, this playing is a great example of this team-ups refusal to go hell-for-leather throughout the whole set.

Last Updated on Sunday, 27 May 2007 07:19  


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