Cwymp y dwr ar ganol dydd

[Confront Collectors Series,]

With a scant discography, IST adds one more to the pile of terrific releases. Harpist Rhodri Davies, bassist Simon H. Fell and cellist Mark Wastell revisit the territory of highly intense improvised music. Recorded live at Contemporaneamente 2002 in Lodi, Italy and graced with a dedication to bassist Peter Kowald, it would be a mistake to call this music intense in its velocity or output as it's not. Rather, the three musicians resolve to put forth music that is bare, warm and greatly inviting. Individual sounds, scrapes, noises, plucks, pops, clicks, taps and knocks are done in such careful and [what sounds like] pre-arranged fashion, the listener is forced to listen intently. With each minute, comes a change of direction. While Wastell taps on the body of the cello, Fell draws out elongated sounds from encasement of his bass, while Davies plucks the harp so gently, you barely hear the full grasp. In order to enjoy the music fully, volume has to be turned up to the maximum allowable level [provided your next door neighbours don't make a fuss]. What excites me most is the threesome as they pop the hell out of their strings. Each particular pop grows in magnitude of intensity, while the unspoken conflict is left to run its course. Whatever musical tension there may be amongst the trio is heard in the pauses. It's the silence that as equally important and revelatory to Ist.
Traw is a trio made up of three laptop freaks from Wales – Richard Llewellyn, Owen Martell and Simon Proffitt. The album began when Rhodri Davies sent the trio tapes of his E-bowed harp workouts. The trio then took these sessions, re-worked them and finally invited Davies for a live gig in Cardiff in July 2005. Made up of six distinct pieces [each one as difficult to pronounce as the album's title], each one features a variation on the duo's collaboration. While "Sgwd Yr Eira" starts off with sounds that could pass as loose change being shuffled on a metal surface, by mid point, the sound permutates into strikes on the harp, sound of Davies' accelerometer and what sounds like a low-flying widget. "Y Pannwr" starts off with a machine hum but ends up going into industrial static-field noise that grows richer and greater with each passing minute. In fact, it's amazing to listen to the piece just to feel the strength of the bass get more phatter and intense. Some static but mostly slow-paced material that is rich in variety and intensity. Though many of the audio material presented may sound alien at first, the more you dig into the music, the more you realize, there is nothing really foreign or absurd about these sounds. All that occurred in the process is Davies' harp was processed and everyone sounds as if they had a barrel of fun in the process. Regardless of whether you're able to pronounce the title of the CD or not, the release is another gem from the rich mining field of Confront.

- Tom Sekowski

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