Philip Corner: Through More Than This Mysterious Barricade

Philip Corner

Although a shy and retiring soul at heart, I was stoked for this blog be mentioned in Tristan Bath’s fine Spool’s Out 2015 round-up on The Quietus.  Even better was to see Philip Corner’s release on Sacred Tapes, Through More Than This Mysterious Barricade, making the list of top tapes for the year. I’ve had this tape for a while and played it loads, yet time and everyday life conspired against me actually writing anything even semi-coherent about it. No matter, Mr Bath sums it up perfectly, describing it as:

“…a passionate and beautifully realised set of gently-paced piano improvisations, with several amazingly bizarre detours into dissonance and noise along the way (particularly the centre of side 2). The ultimate resolution at the end of side two is a truly stunningly haunting climax too, including spontaneous choral singing from Higler and co alongside a single repeated chord on Corner’s spontaneously prepared piano.”

Yeah. For me this tape works as a kind of mass summoning ritual, Corner hammering away at single notes or chords like a demented shaman, attempting to conjure an army of ghosts from his instrument and creating a opaque, heaving wall of sustain as he does so. Everything else seems to drop away in those moments vibrating singularity, bringing us face to face with the shimmering emptiness of eternity. Sacred Tapes have put out a raft of good tapes since, but this is definitely worth a listen or several.


Read the rest of the Spool’s Out review of the year here.

Get Through More Than This Mysterious Barricade here.


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