"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Monday, 14 February 2011

On & on

Suddenly, Steven Hess's wondrous 'percussive fog' is all around. Pan American re-issue? Check (& LMYE coverage on its way. No, really...). Cleared debut? Released last week (& with a Digitalis cassette to follow, allegedly). Return of On? One of the 50 albums that particularly mattered to us in 2010. Covering Can? Yup. Turn-of-the-century greenhouse installation? Why, yes, since you ask - that too.

& that's just to scratch this serial collaborator's surface. His forthcoming slate also features new Locrian & Ural Umbo LPs. Haptic probably won't stay quiet either. Fessenden may be gone, but there's been nothing from WORK for a while, nor further encounters with either Greg Davis or Miles Tilmann. & lately Hess has been prone to fill any gaps with solo releases.

'Fog' is Longbox's apt characterisation of Hess's dense ethereality. That's a trick he conjures through a notable, luxuriating spaciousness around his cymbal clatter - heard to compelling effect throughout the rich selection below, but most especially on the mesmerising Tilmann & On pieces.

WORK > holding / ideal form (from id EP, CONV)

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