John Aulich and James Wood release complex, infrequent and volatile EP

To call the latest debut release from The Silent Howls’ roster a balefully complex anti-album, would be an understatement. Paying homage to Evan Parker, amongst others, the Aulich/Wood trio set out to create a collection of disturbing sounds and textures through a medium of both acoustic and glitch, compiled into, as they describe it, ‘Chemical mucuses bagged and tagged, oxygenated skin flakes sampled, and a groan, as the gasses of decay escape’.

Complex, infrequent and volatile the EP begins with the fourteen minute long ‘Keeshond’, a journey of feedback, glitches, and a never ending sustain. The only traditionally acoustic instrument involved is the bass clarinet, played by James Wood, but even such a beautiful instrument sounds foreign amongst the violent nature of percussion and drones, that dissolve into a vacuum of nothingness. The spatial awareness of ‘Keeshond’ crisscrosses across the vast spectrum of space, filling every frequency, leaving no gaps with a wall of intense sound. And yet there are moments of total silence, an effect that creates an even more so ostracizing soundscape than the moments of total madness. Growling textures over ambient harmonics leave an experimentally aware atmosphere; and show an unpredictable and improvised sense.

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The EP was produced and performed out of improvised spite, with a conscious effort made to resist the urge to fall into habits through production or performance. ‘Hot Bikram’, introduces itself with more random scratches, taps and attacks on a variety of surfaces, transitioning suddenly to inaudible textures that make you wonder if the records skipped. The uncompressed dynamic of the record creates intimacy and fragility, but only within the tracks terms.   Sometimes the surprise of nothingness creates a heightened sense of awareness about the track. The setting of the recording becomes prominent as the splashes of water and nature, tessellates against the electronic and wooden context of the track.

Finishing on ‘Derek’ with more ‘in-your-face’ growls and hysterical themes the EP rounds off in a tidy fashion (at least in this context), with silent yet belligerent breathing patterns, provoking intrigue with a combined effort of notes and breathing accents. The structural complexities and nuances held create an interesting yet extremely intense listen, performed by performers and producers who aren’t afraid to disagree with the conventional wisdom of New Music, or its electro-acoustic counterpart. And although this comes as a first collaboration from two established musicians, it creates intrigue and anticipation into what they will come up with next.

‘Hold onto your Chai Lattes’ is available now via The Silent Howl.

This Aulich/Wood Trio EP article was written by John Gittins, a GIGsoup contributor.

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