'Recorded in Tuscon, Arizona and Liverpool, England from 2005 - 2007 using the postal service. Phil and Glenn have never met, although they are not unattractive people' it says inside. Phil is a well established improv artist, has worked with Evan Parker and Simon Fell and was party to the setting up of Frakture in Liverpool. Well, the first track has me cringing and the only reason I didn't turn it straight off is because I was nursing a hot cuppa and I couldn't be arsed to get off the settee, this freezing (Tuesday) morning in February. Two styles of music could not be further from each other (so what's wrong with that?); a slightly bad 'folk' style singing meets with snatchy electronic quirks. But as I give it more opportunity I am gradually warming up and coating my nerve endings with tea, and warming to it, this is a clear recording and well produced even awakening the shitty colour of the Hi-Fi I'm using. The opposites continue...It's jolly yet remorseful, zippy yet dull. Justaposed flute with what sounds like an electric toothbrush. Remember as you listen, these two guys live in different continents and reflect how two years of postal service collaborating has effected the mysterious ambience in these pieces. It is rich and colourful; busy yet clear and menacing, pieces mutate into nightmarish repetition, enough to drive me crazy. I like to think that working (yeah working..!) on reviewing as soon as I wake up produces more clear and honest results, so whether an increased contemplative state is due to these weird sounds or just my usual fairly stunned state at seeing the world again, is open to debate. But these tracks produce such deep reflecting that when the music stops my senses are 100% clearer, is this due to relief? Is this the intention behind this 'art'? Flute, guitar, cello, piano, a kestrel 920 (Weyant's own-made).... add the excellent poetry (sung in a highly unusual 'folky' way) and the overall menagerie is really compelling and fills the room, like it or not. 'Summer Again' is a great example of this; a beautiful sonic circus, which when finished the birds singing outside were really more noticeable and my 7 year old son burst into spontaneous applause from his (unusually) prone position next to me, (then I realised he'd obviously been listening intently too...what must go through a mind of such an age?) ...another example of the strange magic in recorded music.
This is music to contemplate to, to LISTEN to. Say goodbye to your other needs and shut the door as you would for an (arthouse) film. Indeed put it on first thing! It will disturb you and entrance you and create gigantic silences that were already there... What's more the album is totally free to download (mp3 or lossless flac) from the website, Phil will even send you a free copy, in a lovely handmade sleeve complete with lyric sheet. Do it.
Liverpudlian Phil and Tucsonian (is that a word?) Glenn created their album without ever having met, thanks to the wonders of airmail. “It might not be to everyone’s taste,” admits Phil, and inside the beautiful hand-crafted packaging there does indeed lurk some very challenging listening. The only point of comparison I can come up with is Scott Walker, but this is a million miles from the lush orchestral balladry of Scott 4. Rather, in its dense arrangements of found sound, treated instruments and stylised singing, it recalls Walker’s most recent album, The Drift. Hargreaves and Weyant specialise in the creative abuse of guitars and cellos, and one assumes that only budget constraints or vegetarianism prevented them from following Mr. Engel’s lead and bashing out a funky beat on a pig’s carcass.
An hour of this stuff is hard to take in one sitting, but there’s something refreshing about this duo’s approach to the avant garde. In an age where it’s so easy to hit a button on a plug-in and spew out electronic noise to order, it’s great to hear something created the hard way, using imaginative playing techniques to extract new sounds from acoustic instruments. Phil and Glenn have found enough different flavours of cacophony to give each track its own distinct character, yet the album as a whole has a pleasing coherence. It’s just a shame they chose to open it with their worst piece, ‘Do Not Sing’; unlike later tracks, which have an organic, evolving quality, this one is based around clumsy repetitions of a single loop, and quickly gets dull.
Sound on Sound
From ITDE's pick of 2007:
11) Phil Hargreaves, Glenn Weyant — “Friday Morning Everywhere” – Here’s one you can even download for free. I’ll admit, I didn’t really take into account netlabel releases in this list– if they’re free, you should just be checking them all out, right? Lucky for you, “Friday Morning Everywhere” squeaked in when Phil Hargreaves mailed me a copy. I guess he knew my printer was out of ink, cause I got the full pdf-cover workup and everything. Both Hargreaves and Weyant have joined my short list of incredible musicians this year (Hargreaves work with Caroline Kraabel on “Where We Were,” and Weyant’s “Sonic Anta” series are essential listening) so having them both on one disc is fantastic. While you’re ordering the other 13 releases here, why don’t you put on your new download of this?Dave X