The wheel rotates, slowly. The days are long, much longer than we’re used to. It can feel like whole lifetimes pass between the rising and setting of the sun. Perhaps it’s because we’re living too fast, caffeine-drenched metabolisms pushing onward, impatient for the twilight and the long night. After all, we’re hardly primed for this much daylight.
Like a vast wheel in space, pockmarked surface glinting in the solar rays as it continues its interminable revolution, Canary offers forth its treasures in its own time. Unconcerned and impassive, its seeming delicacy is a mask hiding a fierce intensity and unstoppable momentum. Its two tracks inscribe a series of graceful but deadly auditory parabolas, fields of feedback, cymbal hiss and double bass rumble arcing from absence into an almost overwhelming presence and back again, sometimes overlapping, occasionally complementing each other, and, at other times, avowedly separate.
Seth Cooke and Dominic Lash’s first recorded outing as a duo was the gnarled aggression of PACT, released on Gregory Büttner’s 1000füssler label. This saw the duo wrestling liverish and mottled sonic diatribes from double bass, electronics, kitchen sink and self-described ‘pile of crap’. Almost apocalyptic in intent, it evoked images of some mythical anti-hero wandering the edgelands of the southwest, a savage messiah picking through the junk for signs of life or sources of sustenance. The Fisher King in Cowley. Molloy in Slough.
For Canary, Cooke has ditched the domestic gubbins and focused on cymbal, microphone and electronics setup that he can use to trigger long, metallic tones and invoke contrasting swathes of feedback. Lash stays with the double bass, but he avoids the easy path, deploying all sorts of guttural low-end groans and thumps muss up some of the smoothness nicely.
But it’s that cymbal that I dig the most. Cooke conjures it into sibilant life remotely, like some snake charmer of the avant-garde, the soft metallic cloud that results hitting me like Elvin Jones’s patter of cymbals at the start of A Love Supreme, chopped out from the rest and extended into a coppery trip, hovering in the viewfinder while the bass judders beneath it, a shadow cast from an unknown light source.
I’ve had this CD for a couple of months now and while the epic, slow phase of the first track has had me addicted for quite a while, its shorter companion piece has plenty of promise too. This has a more rugged feel, the feedback tones more piercing (shot like a diamond bullet…), the cymbal more abrasive and the tough, low bass drones coal-black and obsidian-hard. Perhaps this offers an alternative vision of that wheel in space, no longer glorious, far in the future, long after its occupants have passed on, a cold hulk of metal suspended in space, out of time, timeless, without time. No signal. No signal.