Bill Meyer writes on “Extinguishment” via Dusted:
“…their collaboration confounds the rules of addition so that more seems like less. Even when they’re the only ones making sounds on Extinguishment, they seem to be small parts of something larger.”
complete review below:
Anne Guthrie (French horn, electronics, field recordings) and Billy Gomberg (electric bass, electronics, field recordings) are Fraufraulein. A married couple as well as an electroacoustic duo, they may find safety in numbers. At any rate, their collaboration confounds the rules of addition so that more seems like less. Even when they’re the only ones making sounds on Extinguishment, they seem to be small parts of something larger.
The balance between played and found sounds on Guthrie’s recent solo LP,Codiaeum Variegatum, leaves no doubt that you are hearing something composed. She uses field recordings quite literally as a field, a surface upon which she deploys raw and manipulated brass and strings. Gomberg’s recent solo records, on the other hand, are deeply satisfying examples of drone music. You can hear elements of both on Extinguishment. Guthrie once more uses her French horn in painterly fashion, veering from thick smear to fine line within a single stroke. And while this music does not drone, it does convey drone’s sense of spatial and temporal expansiveness, so that even when the listener’s perception of sounds stops, one feels like they are continuing somewhere beyond the limit of hearing. On “Whalebone in a Treeless Landscape,” the French horn and bass are situated behind indeterminate rustling, sharing space with wind sounds and distant PA announcements. The players are often on the periphery, like minor found objects in a vast collage.
This experience persists and up-ends one perception of relationships, so that even when one of them moves into the foreground, they no longer seem so important. A long sliver of feedback may be the first thing you hear on “My Left Hand, Your Right Hand,” and Guthrie’s vocalized French horn gets some time at the front of the mix. But the earlier shifts of perspective draw attention to their impermanence, which is confirmed by their disappearance into a vastness of distant voices, nearby steps, hard-to-attribute chiming sonorities, and Robbie Lee’s long tones on a reed instrument. Both the played instruments and the field recordings become means to perceive that vastness, and the arrangement of sounds a way to assert human existence within it.