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Improv 04

Michael Fahres

The Tubes


Fahres- composer, tapes

Jon Hassell- trumpet

Parik Nazarian- voice

Mark Atkins- didgeridoo


On this Cold Blue disc are three compositions with room for a good bit of improvisation. Starting off is “Sevan”, a sort of lament for the Armenian lake of that name, a victim of industrialization. Parik Nazarian sings from inside one of the abandoned metal pipes that line part of the lake, producing vocal clouds that suggest a Central Asian Ligeti sound world. This voice alternates with a scraping, percussive noise which forces the listener back to earth, then it’s the clouds again, then the scraping, and so on, making for a somewhat disorienting but pleasing whole. If you take that scrape down to a smoothly-textured sound, you’ll get the very heavy breathing of “The Tubes”, built on a tape of volcanic rock tubes that channel forced ocean water.  Fahres recorded them on site on the shores of an unspoiled island that is part of the Canary Island group. This tape (or tapes, maybe?), used as a rhythm track, is accompanied by Jon Hassell and his signature electronically-hushed trumpet and Mark Atkins’ didgeridoo, three sorts of tubes joining together for an exploration of hollowness, fullness, emptiness and solidness. I say that the tape is accompanied as if it’s a musician because it holds an equal place with the two humans here; it’s a kind of musician itself, partly because all three tube sounds work so well together. It’s scary relaxation music, full of the contradictions that phrase implies. “Coimbra 4, Mundi Theatre”, which Fahres assembled out of tapes of a Portuguese music festival he did not attend, is another strange attractor as it floats in the mind like a harmonious, misarchived trace of musical memory. It is musique concrete of a very beguiling sort.


Fahres’ pieces are haunting and they stay in the mind in a calming and elliptical way. Post-Classical music at it’s best.


Cold Blue – CB 0024



Richard Grooms