‘An Equal And Opposite Reaction’, from London-based cellist and composer Peter Nagle, draws elements of free improvisation, composition and sound art into a quiet vortex where restrained harmony amplifies into dry, hermetic mantras and the smallest of incidents are magnified to shattering proportions.
Cello and quarter-tone electric guitar provide the sonic backbone for Nagle to set up shimmering beams of drone – think John Cale’s ‘Sun Blindness’ seasoned with occasional, zonked-out Frippertronics – from which he hangs tangy plucks, clonking percussive loops and smatterings of textural shizzle. And while some of these additions may initially seem superfluous to drone addicts, Nagle’s judgement is usually right on the money, enabling him to transform uneasy bricolage into a union of opposites that is pure bleedin’ synergy, mate.
On the title track, fragments of conversation and clanging guitar orbit around Nagle’s questing whine, like signals leeching from the wires of a vast communications network to be picked up by cunning signal sniffers deep in the digital hinterlands. More than quarter of an hour elapses under this far-out fibre-optic groove, Nagle cunningly tweaking the tone and timbre of his buzzing flows while maintaining the requisite level of hypnosis.
‘Veränderung’, meanwhile, sees those microtonal high-tension lines sprayed with fuzzed-up guitar muck in fine Iommi-at-the-Dream-House style. Slashed powerchords and computer burbles transform into a juicy motorik chug that heads off into the wide open with barely a gear change. It’s heavy pastoral, yeah? But before you can croon ‘Hallogallo’, the whole darned operation hits the crash barriers and collapses into a mardy outburst of plangent, twanging grump. I’ll take those keys, young man. No more fun, fun, fun for you.