Luigi Archetti & Jan Schlege

Silent Surface

Unit Records, Switzerland

Bassist Schlegel and guitarist Archetti both use any number of effects boxes to get the broken repeating structures, drifting sonorities and unexplained drones and buzzes heard on this CD.  The territory covered is that gray area where free playing, industrial ambient and electronic chamber music -- think Luigi Nono's work for microphones, music stands and tape or Tim Hodgkinson's recent CDs on Recommended Records -- all meet and interlace. It's a gray area in terms of musical philosophy but these 53 minutes of actual music -- and I call it music, you might not -- has its colors.  Archetti and Schlegel operate by contrasting motifs: on "Thaumasit" a bowed airship-sized tone envelope will overshadow but not drown the distant scratching of guitar strings being ground down  a music stand pipe (hence the Nono mention, perhaps), or Derek Bailey - esque scrambled picking dances about a dull-edged rhythm box figure ("Rhodocrosit").  A window fan rattles cans on a string but the clankings all fit together somehow.  Don't ask me!  LP surface noise, cyclotron whirring, picked acoustic guitars, sine-wave generators... since John Cage and Henry Cowell we've been allowed to call this music if we want to, and as I've said, you may disagree violently.  But the open mind will find this very diverting.  It ain't really all that Jazz but it's likable and rewarding. 

by Ken Egbert    

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