Sarah Bernstein - processed violin and text
Stuart Popejoy - electric bass and synthesizer
Andrew Drury - drums and mayhem
Phase Frame Music 2012
Improvised music and poetry are a close relatives yet somehow they rarely work out together. "Interactive Album Rock" is a welcome exception to that rule. That being said the music on the album doesn't follow that much any rules or expectations you might have.
The three musicians have modified extensively the traditional sounds of their respectable instruments, whether it's through use of multiple ordinary objects (Andrew Drury responsible for the "mayhem") or electronic filters. As the title promises the music is mainly rock-oriented, with hard hits on the toms, heavy bass and sky-scraping violin. Yet it's a futuristic, heavily distorted and hypnotic vision of rock music. Instrumental "Februarists" and "Full Employment" showcases the sound of the violin, against the unstoppable force of the rhythm section. Andrew Drury's particular style of playing mixes rock energy with jazz subtlety and plenty of immaginative out-there sounds while Stuart Popejoy loops his lines extensively, being able to cover two instruments at the same time and develop the music through multitude of modulations, spacious, sci-fi, even freaky.
The Sarah Bernstein's poetry is delivered with cold, emotionless voice that fits perfectly the surreal music. The words resonate and reverb against the eerie sounds. "Love Segment" might be my favourite, with psychodelic electronic intro, the scattered and sparse words come only in the end of the piece, echoing in the vast musical space created by the synth noise and objects moving on the drumheads.
The futuristic, hypnotic content of "Interactive Album Rock" remind me of the "Psychotic Redaction" by Baker/Bruckmann/Zerang, while the ability to keep alive the dramatic tense relation between music and words brings to memory the improvised songs of Fourth Page's "Blind Horizons", but perhaps the most noticeable connection would be to the early records of Laurie Anderson.
Filled with suprises yet mantaining sense of structure, this albums delivers music and words that are continously intriguing and engaging. Well worth checking out.