Brian Olewnick on Heavy Objects

A rare missive from Brian Olewnick’s woodsy retreat:

How nice to have some new Fraufraulein! Anne Guthrie (French horn, objects) and Billy Gomberg (electronics, bass guitar) have a special way of creating all-but-casual soundscapes from found materials and horn snippets, often subtly underlined by Gomberg’s essentially melodic take on things. There’s a relaxed feeling, walking speed, but extremely observant, choosing sounds with a balance of care and nonchalance. There’s a sense of a pure field recording that happens to contain musical elements as part of the environment, as when the (I think) small horn burps bubble to the surface about 12 minutes into ‘One of Us Always Tells the Truth’; very engaging. Firecrackers in the street begin side two, ‘When We Evaporate’, sharing space with muffled bass plucks and soft, wistful horn lines, all soon blending with the general, urban ambience outside the window. More small explosions, as though recorded on July 4th or Chinese New Year, airplanes passing, distant radio. Toward the end, the bass becomes a bit more insistent, even establishing a rhythm, Guthrie’s horn wafting atop, a very fine coalescing of all that’s transpired before. Excellent work all around, a real treasure. More, please.

Heavy Objects in Dusted…

the word from Bill Meyer at Dusted:

Who plays the music and who deals with the baby? New-ish parents Billy Gomberg and Anne Guthrie had to deal with that question as they made Heavy Objects, and that circumstance offers one explanation for the tape’s restraint. While a French horn, bass guitar, digital recorder and synthesizer were all hefted during the recording session, it certainly doesn’t sound like anything heavy was played, let alone dropped. Instead distant environmental recordings negotiate for space with other recordings of hushed in-home activity — the filling of a glass or papers being moved around a table. The musical instruments are heard one note at a time, almost reluctantly, as though whoever was playing them was trying hard not to wake the kid. The result is music well suited to quiet headset listening. Pop the tape in your Walkman or the files in your phone and play them almost subliminally while you shop or stroll, and savor the moment when you can’t tell if the radio or car horn you’re hearing comes from the music or the space you’re traversing. But if you’re easily frightened, you might want to audition side two once in the safety of your home first; I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but there is one sound on it that you’d much rather hear coming from a recording than the street.