Katsura Mouri & Tim Olive: Various Histories (2013)
Despite Olive's background playing bass guitar and guitar, here he is credited with pickups and metal and, sure enough, "metallic" is an apt description of much of this music. The album has few traces of recognisable instrumental sounds; instead it features a vast array of electro-acoustic sounds, recorded in extreme close-up that reveals their every detail so that there is no way to ignore them. Unlike many eai recordings, the sounds on Various Histories are in your face throughout, and do not readily blend into the wash of ambient sounds with which we all co-exist on a daily basis. That closeness can frequently be oppressivemaybe mirroring the extreme climatic conditions in which it was recorded.
It is significant that both Mouri and Olive are experienced duo playersshe in BusRatch and he is many collaborationsas those histories are clearly evident in their interactions. As a twosome they display an uncanny awareness of each other's intentions that verges on instinctive. Yes, Mouri's edits and mixing may have selected their most successful passages of play and accentuated the positive but, time and again, the two fit together hand in glove; when one of them is laying down a continuous, unchanging passage, the other interjects enough occasional contrasting sounds to keep the totality fresh and interesting... and then they swap roles seamlessly. The most impressive track is the longest, the fifteen-minute closer, on which they build up mesmerising ebb and flow between them; it would deserve to be called a drone were it not for the amount of detail it contains, both on the surface and below itnot music that can simply "be there" but that constantly commands attention. If Mouri and Olive record together againas we must hope, on this showinglonger durations seem a promising avenue for exploration.
Track Listing: (Five untitled tracks) 3’ 47”; 4’ 04”; 1’ 45”; 9’ 25”; 15’ 20”.
Personnel: Katsoura Mouri: turntables, edits, mix; Tim Olive: pickups, metals.
Record Label: 845 Audio