Making their Intonema debut here, the occasional duo of Dominic Lash
and Seth Cooke dates back to 2013. Egregore
is their third album release, following PACT
(1000 füssler, 2014) and Canary
(Hideous Replica, 2015). However, anyone familiar with those releases and/or Lash's other work may be surprised by this new album as he does not play double bass at all here, opting instead for electronics throughout while Cooke is heard on cymbals and microphones. Their new label may be the key to the changed instrumentation, as Intonema seems to have a penchant for electronics/percussion duos, as exemplified by Alluvium
(Intonema, 2017) by Jamie Drouin and Hannes Lingens.
Studio-recorded in 2016, in Nailsworth, and 2017, in Bristol, Egregore
consists of one unbroken track that runs for just under an hour. If that sounds like a daunting prospect, do not be deterred from investigating further. The piece's soundscape is deep and complex but it evolves slowly so that there are no nasty shocks along the way. The key to its creation may lie in those two recording dates and locations; rather than being created at one sitting, it sounds as if different recorded tracks were overlaid to create that soundscape.
Most of the sounds are electronically produced, with Cooke's cymbals not being used to create rhythms but bowed (or excited as in the You Tube clip below?) to produce sustained tones of their own which are entirely compatible with the electronic ones. A particular sound may build up slowly over a period of minutes then fade away just as slowly, creating the illusion that nothing is changing. However, hopping around to different points within the piece soon reveals sounds that differ markedly in every way---pitch, timbre, volume, depth...
With prolonged listening, the piece can easily become part of the wallpaper but it can also be addictively mesmeric and fascinating. The more one listens to it, the more one hears each time. It is certain to improve with age and handsomely repay the time invested in listening. Definitely a promising new path for Lash and Cooke to pursue further.
Dominic Lash: electronics; Seth Cooke: cymbals, microphones.