Monday, 27 January 2020

Phill Niblock ‎– "Nothin To Look At Just A Record" (India Navigation ‎– IN 3026) 1982



We've heard long drawn out saxophones,viola's,violins,Bosendorfer Piano's,flutes, tape loops, fruit loops,you name it, someone with Avant-Garde pretentions from the lower east side has made a droning artistic statement with every instrument imaginable......but,hang on!.....what about the noble Trombone?
That's right, Phill,with two 'L's, Niblock, finally got around to it in 1982,which was just about the peak of poularity for minimalism.A bit like the Green Day of minimalism;whereas Green day are the Brown day of Punk,except that Niblock isn't quite the same shade of shit brown,maybe more an electric magnolia.
Turning from photography to music,a transition last achieved by Linda Eastman McCartney to questionable effect; Niblock seems to have achieved a most unlikely sucess. However, even a toilet cleaner can make an avant-garde drone epic if he was so aware of its possibility.I don't think anyones made a minimalist symphony on Kazoo yet,if they have,it wasn't done by a toilet cleaner?Or maybe it was? Maybe Niblock was a toilet cleaner at one stage in his pre-'art' career? And what's wrong with that?
The faux-modesty of the cover and the title tends to put one off listening to this from the outset.That, coupled with the bandwagon jumping nature of the project,and the crater filling amount of drone epics out there,tend not to fill one with excitment;but, I have listened to this, and i like the rasping interaction of the two Trombones sine waves as they weave together in and out of phase like two jousting fog horns luring innocent oil tankers onto the last living coral reef on the planet Earth.
When the third horn is added for side two,it takes on a new maritime quality,of a slowly sinking ship in the fog.
Play this simultaneously with Gavin Bryars' "The Sinking Of The Titanic",and you've got the missing link between minimalism and Ambient.......(In fact i've done it for you, just click HERE!
Tracklist:

A A Trombone Piece 22:15
B A Third Trombone 21:00


4 comments:

northfieldhat said...

Apparently Niblock's music is very different depending on how you hear it. Played loudly in an excellent carpeted-type concert hall, interesting arpeggios and harmonic "rainbows" appear as a result of the beat frequencies set up in the works. It's supposed to be quite traditionally beautiful when all that starts to happen.

northfieldhat said...
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Bodhi Amol said...

I would like to support the other comment - indeed the live installation of some of his work in Kassel a few years ago was one of the stongest musicical experiences ever.The seemingly static music being in constant change caused by moving through the space and sometimes even being erased in the otherwise extremely loud performance, because the soundwaves exterminated each other at certain points, was something to behold.
Thanks for the interesting collage , looking foward hearing it later....

TipsyDave said...

Stuart Dempster has some very listenable minimal-drone-trombone recordings (sometimes in collaboration with Pauline Oliveros on bandoneon).