Anton Mobin’s magic boxes are in full effect on this duo recording with guitarist Riipus, culled from a live performance in Italy earlier this year. Mobin’s prepared chambers – to give them their proper name – do have something of the mystical about them, these arcane assemblages of rubber bands and metallic bits and bobs able to produce all manner of sonic outputs, from delicate clicks and plunks up to thick, dubby clouds of echo. Impressive enough by themselves, their deployment in a duo configuration can have transformative effects. The viscous throb of Mobin’s interventions in his recording with viola player Benedict Taylor, Stow Phasing, for example, added a kind of liquid shimmer to Taylor’s high intensity attack.
Mobin is similarly effective over the course of this CD, the cool clarity of its recording rendering both his and Riipus’s clanging explorations with limpid fidelity. We get four pieces, of which the first, Enterodia, is the longest. According to the release notes, this formed the main part of the duo’s performance that night, and is accordingly varied and interesting. Mobin’s prepared chambers are wonderfully reverberant throughout, with a soft chorus of chime-like tones and clangs at the start getting progressively crunchier as things progress. There’s a lovely rubber band twang early on that sounds almost deep enough to be a rather jazzy double bass interlude.
I’m not as familiar with Riipus’ work, but he seems to be keeping his end up handsomely, notably in g a beautiful, rippling arpeggio at about the 8-minute mark. For all that, the nicest thing about this piece in particular is the way in which the pair’s playing blends together, so that individual contributions are submerged into the grainy sonic strata. Some elements are easy to identify but for the most part we get a kind of acousmatic blending in which we’re not sure who is doing what but we don’t mind because the results are so engaging. Metallic grinds and scraps give way to chiming tones and resonant plinks. Rusty creaks are submerged in a low-frequency motorised throb. Mischievous squeals are chased by melancholic groans. Keith Rowe meets up with Adam Bohman for a guest spot on a :zoviet*france record.
The other three pieces offer similar, if shorter, pleasures. Syncope Vitrée has a rhythmic, thudding pulse that never quite breaks out into a groove as such, despite its antic nature, its broken guitar chords flying out in all direction like huge shards from a skyscraper’s shattered window. Abat-court is stringy-ish and brooding, its guitar wibbles punctuated by a plasticky bass strum, both of which tessellate nicely with the usual workshop spray. Closing track Archéonome makes like a robot from 1984 with its strange stylophone modulations and toy motor buzzings, before morphing into a retro-musique-concrete wonderland, as if rows of pretty terraced houses were being cruelly demolished by a robot wrecking crew. A compulsory purchase order from the mechanised future. Slum clearance from the 22nd century.