One from Cathnor

Patrick Farmer/Dominic Lash Bestiaries Cathnor

First, I have to mention the beautiful sleeve drawings by the UK artist/musician, Sarah Hughes, on this album. The splatters of ink and cryptic, spindly lines that occupy the front and back covers fit the music by UK based musicians Dominic Lash (bass) and Patrick Farmer (percussion) in its wooden scrabble, and it mirrors the sneaking imperceptibility of the music. And this is the music of wood cracking, splintering, expanding in heat and humidity. Bestiaries is seemingly as much a document of sound escaping from inanimate things as it is two fine musicians coaxing these sounds from stubborn instruments. Farmer and Lash are remarkable in both restraint and ingenuity, and the music seems so unforced that you forget that there are human hands behind it. It‘s a fascinating quality, conjuring both peace and forgetfulness, langor and timelessness. Remarkably this music strikes as almost entirely non-visual — I have none of the images that sometimes arise of the musicians playing here, hammering their instruments with extended virtoustic intent; I have no desire to even know how they are creating these dry heaves, tiny croaks of earthy dissonances. It’s as though the sound has always been there trapped inside itself, and it is now only being let out and shaped, pruned, cordoned off into form. Bestiaries is immediately rich and textural, nearly always quietly exploring arid atmospheres, but with moments of thrumming wetness — a plucked bass string, a percussive pop amidst the slide. Never before has both the papery dryness, and the resonant oaken lunge of the instruments been so apparent. There‘s no map here, no guide to lead you through the thicket of entwined branches. Momentarily one may hear a striking, brilliant coherence; but it is not a sign post, but more a movement in the dark you can almost…just… identify. If there is a structure it is unknown. And it seems unneeded on our part to know, as though it would be almost a wrong doing to what has been created. It’s best to let Bestiaries unfold on its own and not try to follow too closely. It seems far more enjoyable to just listen; as though you were under a tree at dusk and the wind has picked up and is shaking branches and limbs you cannot see, not unpleasantly. In the weeds a creature moves. Excellent album.

One Response to “One from Cathnor”

  1. Thanks for this review, a rare, subtle appreciation of this album. Much appreciated. Drop me an email?

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