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Austria-based “EFZEG” presents an unlikely union of disparate electro-acoustic instrumentation, equating to a recording that should prod the listener’s deepest sensibilities. With this recent release for the often adventurous “Durian” record label, saxophonist Boris Hauf aligns his multifaceted implementations with guitarists Martin Siewert and Burkhard Stangl who also chip in with the EFX chores, whereas someone known as Dieb13 handles the turntables.
Essentially, Grain is all about stark expressionism as the quartet renders three lengthy pieces consisting of ominous sounding motifs, i.e. alien soundscapes, turntable scratches and acute improvisational diatribes. Many of these sequences offer moments of eerie serenity amid crafty utilization of electronics, sustained notes and climactic overtures yet the musicians effectively maintain a distinctive group sound throughout, while the band also procures a subliminal sense of rhythm. The third piece, simply titled “03” might elicit far-flung imagery of traveling through a bottomless pit via the intermittent dialogue, Hauf’s shrewd applications, oscillating crosscurrents and the musician’s subdued banter. At times, the guitarists render dark, metallic chords and choruses in conjunction with Hauf’s articulate lines as the band cunningly produces a potpourri of cabalistic or haunting vibes atop notions of timelessness; however, the instrumentalists also inject the power of suggestion into their repertoire.
No doubt, Grain defies any semblance of categorization yet is perhaps one of the most alluring recordings this writer has heard in quite some time, as the translation of the music at hand, is clearly up to the willing listener’s imaginative discernment. Recommended!