Album Review

Espvall, Helena and Diaz-Infante, Ernesto – “A Hallowed Shell of Ash and Rust” – [Erototox Decodings]

Thurston Hunger   5/4/2013   A Library, CD

The “drone room” is cavernous, with room for plenty
of variety (and room for plenty of contemplation too.)
Erstwhile Esper, Espvall joins forces here with the
man from Pax, Ernesto, for a series of recordings
that rather than denote the decay the album title
implies, for me evoked more of the early morning
pre-dawn sense of becoming. Frequently Espvall bows
her cello so smoothly, and gracefully the sounds
lack an attack or collapse and just hang like
stalactites of sound where you can see neither end.
Ernesto’s tanpura add shadows to those moments. I
dig when those moments ricochet into more vibrant
sound as on “Bridges to Nowhere” which also drops
ornamental clutter and some slithery bowing and
ethereal zings on top. Ernesto, a multi-instrument sort
of fellow, often focused on prepared guitar; and
here we find some of this best work. Adding bristle
and rattle without tearing the fabric of the drone.
Both he and Helena find ways to ping high harmonics.
Both “Against A Realization In Weathered Iron” and
“A Glamour In Base Materials” illustrates that with
clouds on top of clouds all from the mountains of
Twin Peaks. And is Espvall singing on the first,
far away? Ghostly but not sepulchral. Tracks 7 and 8
feature a little more twisted, active sound, and
tight half-step dissonance. The whole album progresses
through states (maybe therein lies the “Ash” and
the “Rust”) and the titles strung together may be
a poem, or clue, or item for further decoding.
While at it, trace the dots to Morris Minor and
KFJC’s pit on this release.
-Thurston Hunger

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