John Coleclough
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Period (2001), 7.5/10
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British sound sculptor Jonathan Coleclough (1963), originally a member of collective Ora (with Andrew Chalk, Darren "Monos" Tate, Colin Potter), operates at the border between droning ambient music (or, better, "deep listening") and abstract electronic music as documented by Sumac (Siren, 1997 - ICR, 1999), a collaboration with Andrew Chalk, and especially by the impressive Cake (Siren, 1998), reissued and remixed as Cake (version 2) (Siren, 2002). This 35-minute piece begins with harsh electronic dissonance that don't sound harsh at all because they have been incorporated in a continuous flow and the whole has been somehow smoothed out. Soon a distant rumble takes over and that becomes the narrative for the rest of the piece: a slow mutation of this deep rumble into a didjediroo-like vibration and eventually into silence while, at the same time, sounds of nature come to the surface. Then the drone that has disappeared is resurrected but the mutation has continued and the sound is now a sharp metallic hissing. The mutation now resumes with more movement towards galactic variations reminiscent of cosmic music of the 1970s.

After Minya (1999), a collaboration with Colin Potter and Andrew Chalk, and Windlass (Staalplaat, 1999) came Period (Anomalous, 2001), one of the most soothing and monolithic compositions in the repertory of droning music. The 50-minute Period toys with piano notes that are played several seconds from each other, enough time to indulge in the echo that each leaves behind and that is further wrapped with a background radiation of sorts. The background drone becomes thick and loud enough that the balance of power shifts in its favor. Then we realize that the mutating drone is the real protagonist of the piece, and the piano notes (whatever they are trying to play) only constitute the background. Just when the drone has become dominant (in a rather ugly timbre) the situation changes again: the drone decays to a distant buzz while the piano continues its cryptic sonata. The 18-minute Periodic disposes of the piano and attains a much higher degree of tension and pathos: the massive drone, reminiscent of Gordon Mumma's apocalyptic installations, is free to metabolize and bloom, radiating ghostly sub-drones in all directions. The revolving nebula of evil sounds paints a bleak soundscape akin to the apocalyptic and visionary soundpainting of German cosmic music of the 1970s. The 29-minute Periodicity has more of these flying cosmic objects but set against an industrial-grade pulsation. The collision between the two elements turns out to be catastrophic: everything implodes into an empty landscape of sparse bangs, subdued hisses and alien clangors. The hissing turns into a bubbling magma while the noises continue to pop up and fade out more or less randomly. The pulsation changes character one more time, it becomes faster and simpler; the intergalacting hisses return; the metallic clangor continues. And towards the end the composer/mixer throws in a chaotic dialogue among atonal guitars. This is highly scenic chamber music for improvised musique concrete and drones. Finally, the 21-minute Summand indulges in the horrible dance of a loud wall-shaking rumble. Jonathan Coleclough demonstrates great skills in architecting and choreographing the sounds that he produces. There is a narrative at work, there is a strategy that makes a point, there is method to his madness.

Low Ground (ICR, 2002), a collaboration with Colin Potter and saxophonist Tim Hill, Beech For John and Miho (Sea Pool, 2003), a collaboration with saxophonist Tim Hill, and the untitled collaboration with Potter and Steven "Bass Communion" Wilson (ICR, 2004) are subtle electroacoustic works that redefine chamber music for the ambient age.

Casino (Idea, 2003), instead, simply collects two field recording (a casino and frogs).

Makruna (ICR, 2004) is a series of manipulations of piano notes, mixed with metallic noise and field recordings.

Long Heat (ICR, 2005) is a collaboration with Japanese improviser Kuwayama "Lethe" Kiyoharu.

Husk (ICR, 2006) is a collaboration with Murmer. (Patrick McGinley). Drones are obtained from the sound of refrigerators, thunderstorms, sheep, car horns, ferryboats, windblown sand and crackling charcoal.

Torch Songs (Die Stadt, 2007), consisting of two LPs and a CD, is a collaboration with Andrew Liles.

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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