373

I Heart Lung: Interoceans

Ian Patterson By

Sign in to view read count
I Heart Lung: Interoceans In the universe of I Heart Lung, minimalism conveys great power and beauty and dissonance are two sides of the same coin. The heart and lungs of this collective are Chris Schlarb and Tom Steck; the former's guitar and electronic drones and the latter's talking drums combine to create soundscapes as delicate as summer rain or as tempestuous as a raging sea. Following on the heels of the excellent Between Them a Forest Grew Trackless and Quiet (SAA, 2007), Interoceans has perhaps less harshness about it, but displays no less ambition and takes as its central theme oceans, in a continuous four-part suite.

From start to finish, Interoceans took nearly three years to create. First, four drone pieces were recorded and then, over a period of time, collaborations with other musicians were made. The splicing together of these contributions and field recordings brought this project to a conclusion in August 2008.

Rumbling tom-toms suggest turbulence in "Upwelling" and Schlarb's guitar, part power chord and part- drone, bursts onto the scene with menace; if ever there was a soundtrack to a tsunami this is it. The drone fades and delicate gong, chimes and cymbals provide release from the tension. When Schlarb's simply strung acoustic guitar chords arrive, it is like sun breaking through the clouds. A Robert Fripp-like drone brings calm and stillness to proceedings.

Schlarb's Fripp-inspired drone begins the second part of the suite "Overturning," the ambience echoes the epic quality of Jon Anderson's Olias of Sunhillow. (Atlantic, 1976) A keening, yearning trumpet played by Kris Tiner steers the piece away from the fantastical towards an altogether darker world while Steck's drums arrive from nowhere, gathering momentum, accompanied by Nels Cline on guitar. This highly atmospheric piece grows to inhabit a space where the psychedelia of the Grateful Dead and Miles Davis meet. It is quite hypnotic, ebbing, flowing and receding with power and grace.

The third part "Undercurrent" is a deeply meditative, dreamy composition; Cline, this time on sitar, lays down some beautifully tempered lines that gradually build against a slow motion drum beat and shimmering cymbals, somehow suggesting the breathing of the ocean, its vastness. Anthony Shadduck's ever-effective and softly plucked acoustic bass adds to the beauty of this piece.

The final part, "Outspreading," brings together lively percussion with simple acoustic guitar, electronic sounds and feedback-drone. Flugelhorn and trumpet haunt the background like ghostly voices before all the instrumentation fades to nothing, briefly, before the horns return in uneasy harmony, a portent for the tempest to come. Steck's drums are a storm all by themselves, though guitar and effects enhance the drama no end. It all climaxes in a crescendo of sound.

The production values on Interoceans and the work of Chris Schlarb are excellent, this opera would surely sound magnificent on a good sound system. As it is, it sounds damned good on a very ordinary one and it gets better with each listening. It's a work of great subtlety and profundity.


Track Listing: Interoceans I (Upwelling); Interoceans II (Overturning); Interoceans III (Undercurrent); Interoceans IV (Outspreading).

Personnel: Chris Schlarb: electric guitar, 6- and 12-string acoustic guitar, electronics and percussion; Tom Steck: acoustic drums, cymbals and percussion; Nels Cline: electric guitar, sitar and percussion; Dave Easley: pedal steel guitar; Lynn Johnston: clarinet, bass clarinet; Andrew Pompey: percussion; Anthony Shadduck: acoustic bass; Kris Tiner: flugelhorn, trumpet; Aaron Ximm: field recordings.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: Asthmatic Kitty Records | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read A Dark and Stormy Day CD/LP/Track Review A Dark and Stormy Day
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Pocono Git-Down CD/LP/Track Review Pocono Git-Down
by Edward Blanco
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Rímur CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Henning Bolte
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Schönbrunn CD/LP/Track Review Schönbrunn
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 1, 2017
Read Northern Adventures CD/LP/Track Review Northern Adventures
by Jack Bowers
Published: February 28, 2017
Read Collider CD/LP/Track Review Collider
by John Sharpe
Published: February 28, 2017
Read "My Iris" CD/LP/Track Review My Iris
by Fiona Ord-Shrimpton
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Onwards To Mars!" CD/LP/Track Review Onwards To Mars!
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: April 18, 2016
Read "Before The Silence" CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Out & About" CD/LP/Track Review Out & About
by Doug Collette
Published: July 3, 2016
Read "Time on My Hands" CD/LP/Track Review Time on My Hands
by Jack Bowers
Published: December 10, 2016
Read "Sunflower / Goodbye" CD/LP/Track Review Sunflower / Goodbye
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 28, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!