With his latest record, Notwist singer & guitar player, film soundtracker and label boss Markus Acher, aka Rayon, offers up a sparse, intoxicating LP of instrumentals.
As the name suggests, the spaces between notes here are treated with as much gravity as the notes themselves – arpeggios spiralling upwards, conflicting yet interlocking in a dizzying overlap of time signatures.
An obvious reference point is Javanese gamelan, with its ensemble of hand-beaten metallophones and bamboo flutes, pulling in all directions at once and yet, like a starling murmuration, maintaining shape as one, rippling whole.
Eschewing electronic equipment, the title track sees marimbaphone, piano and vibraphone appearing to mimic a delay pedal, giving the effect of rain falling with odd regiment into a singing bowl.
This melancholy but weirdly uplifting arrangement surfaces throughout the record, punctuated by mossy synth hums and subterranean rustling. Like much of Rayon’s work, “A Beat of Silence” beams across like a soundtrack for some forgotten documentary: dusty archive footage of cities being built and eroded in time-lapse seeming to flicker across the screen.
Closing tracks “To the Quiet”, a tentative, almost impossibly fragile ballad, and “Kona”, a stretched and mangled wash of orchestral drone akin to Plinth or Edmund Finnis, leave the listener fully enveloped, as this incredibly sensitive work draws to a close.
Richard Greenan (Kit Records, Devon Loch)
released November 11, 2016
Sachiko Hara - piano, harmonium
Cico Beck - marimbaphone, bass-drum, percussion, electronics
Karl Ivar Refseth - vibraphone, glockenspiel, bassdrum, percussion
Anton Kaun - objects, electronics
Markus Acher - harmonium, percussion, gongs, electronics
Tadklimp - electronics, algorithmic processing
Produced by Tadklimp + Markus Acher
Cover Artwork by Michael Dumontier