Dusted Reviews

Anthony Guerra / Paul Hood / Joel Stern - Low Resistance Group

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: Anthony Guerra / Paul Hood / Joel Stern

Album: Low Resistance Group

Label: Para

Review date: Jan. 13, 2005

Australian improvised music has come into its own. Many listeners have become familiar with Oren Ambarchi, whose collaborations with Voice Crack, Keith Rowe, and other improvisers have put him on the map. But many of the best recordings from Down Under have come courtesy of these three musicians (not least on the excellent label Two Thousand And). Here Anthony Guerra plays electric guitar and electronics (I highly recommend his solo recording Spool [#2], by the way); Paul Hood plays GP3 record player, amplified objects and mixing desk; and Joel Stern is credited with field recordings, contact mikes and electronics. They whip up six tracks of quite varying approaches, all combining – with different degrees of intensity and success – field recordings, electronics and guitar. Each is an improvisation recorded in London in 2002, and remixed (and to a certain degree, possibly reconstructed) back home in Melbourne.

The best piece on the disc is the opening track, which features snatches of prerecorded crowd noise and applause segueing into lovely melodic loops that are stalked persistently by crackles, glitches and other claustrophobic noises that prevent the mood from stabilizing. Much of the most prominent material comes from Guerra bowing his guitar (something he does quite effectively but which, in the last two years, he seems to have abandoned). Each of the improvisations here is interested in density of sound, though none is particularly challenging; the mood is often quite drone-based and could reasonably be called psychedelic. The aqueous, subterranean feel of the fifth selection – with its grittiness and edge – is a pleasantly provocative exception (it also features the most direct, visceral, and volatile exchanges of the disc).

But the overall tranquility (dare I say the low resistance?) is interesting because, even though many of the individual sounds used here – rubbed metal, hissing, high-pitched feedback and electronic crackles – might seem extreme on their own, the integration of the lot yields a very warm, very human sound. I suspect that some keys to this impression are Stern’s adept choice of field recordings and Guerra’s intimate, Burkhard Stangl-like guitar work. The brevity and relative focus of these tracks is to be admired, though it might be better appreciated in a single long-form improvisation. That may be just nitpicking, since this is fine music. But it’s hard not to be conscious of the superior work these musicians have done elsewhere.

By Jason Bivins

Read More

View all articles by Jason Bivins

Find out more about Para

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.