Lost Daylight

There’s a heavy rain falling outside my window. The cars that are passing create a dull slush of sound, their tail lights blurring into the gray silt. John Tilbury’s (of AMM) interpretation of Terry Jenning’s pieces for piano is playing, from Lost Daylight on Another Timbre records. It’s not at odds with the natural drama outside, in fact it seems to coexist organically, as though either thing would be incomplete without it. I realize the quaintness of all of this– spare, delicate solo piano playing out to rain, while humdrum thoughts are played out like a rumination on the wheel of life. But I’m also a couple beers in, enjoying a day off, and probably been listening to far too much death metal (although isn’t Impetuous Ritual just fucking great?)

Like Satie or Feldman, Jenning’s pieces seem to bend the time, creating another space, a new continuum. I keep looking up and realizing five minutes have passed as though in one. Each note is placed to chart space, to investigate the room. It’s not necessarily natural music, but the slow, leaf falling in air notes seem to conjure images of the natural, of water and soil, creeping moss and hanging vine. I’m a sucker for the ruminative as much as the visceral kick and punch. I’m a solitary listener mostly. I find the themes and narratives I create for myself when listening to music to be more meaningful than with others usually. It’s not that I create the situations to listen alone, but that most people I know don’t dig Keith Rowe as much as the Animal Collective, or Morbid Angel as much as Wolf Parade. Kevin Drumm doesn’t lend itself to parties, AMM isn’t perfect for the collective smash grab, fuck and fight. Who cares anyway? All interpretation is insular. And as much as we would like to create art and life as having some nature that elevates into a grand universal state, it still falls down to the indvidual, stubborn, limited and fleeting. I’m glad for that. Permanence is overrated. As though if we erect enough lasting monuments that it will convince others that we are still here. Somewhere. And this music seems so impermanent. . . Tilbury spins notes that seem to burn in the air then flicker out, never to repeated again (that is until you play it again). Facilely, I’m reminded those of drunken moments at the piano, when the party is dying down or nearly out and you rest your cheek in one hand and play delicately with the other, lost and tired and sad because you can almost hear those birds singing. Of course on Lost Daylight it’s anything but drunken… infinitely more skilled. Of course. With infinitely more patience and experience and talent. But that goes without saying, doesn’t it?

Jenning’s pieces float and seem to react to one another in interesting ways. It’s five seperate pieces but each seems dependent on the other, as though part of a suite. Tilbury’s playing is humid, laden but not heavy. In fact, one could say his touch is so light and reflective the notes barely stir the air, but once heard they don’t easily leave your consciousness, percolating down to something deeper, more subliminal. I can’t think of anything more stunningly played, more gorgeously felt than the decaying string of notes on the fourth track that cascade and then slow to yet another minimal probing half-melody.

I must be getting sappy. Ah, the last track, by Cage, this time Tilbury is abetted by Sebastian Lexer on electronics (piano+). It’s a skirting, shifting mass compared to the earlier pieces. It coinicides perfectly as the rain has calmed. It’s not as beautiful or ruminative as the Jennings, but impecablely played. Volume masses then fades, radical shifts of tone and timbre sprout than shrink and die. Incredibly dense at moments, then hardly there at others, it reminds me there’s still life to the scrape and tinkle of avant garde piano. I’ve never been hugely into the John Cage, and if I am it’s almost always by Tudor or Tilbury. Lexer’s electronics are layered and thoughtful and really make this whole piece for me. If most of the noise genre would pay as much intimate attention to timbre and placement… well, then, I guess it wouldn’t be real enough or something, not harsh enough for the heads. At around 23:00 minutes in there’s a wonderful sustained tone that is eerily similar to the thunderstorm warning siren I heard earlier, Lexer elongating a tart chord I assume. Tilbury is stoic as always. This is a great disc. Buy it:

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