Nathan Corder and Dylan Burchett | Hum-Colored Tendrils
Flaming Pines (DL)
Hum-Colored Tendrils is a composition for tea pot, water jugs, metal sheets, glass jars and fans recorded at the Center for Contemporary Music (Mills College) by the Bay Area duo Nathan Corder and Dylan Burchett. This is their first full album together, and is comprised of two lengthy pieces that each run about thirty-seven minutes a piece, Tendril A and Tendril B. For all their common household/utilitarian items they launch a cosmic noise that sounds like the muffle of rocket engines in space – proving you can most definitely make the most sensory experience out of your general surroundings.
The oscillating drone that is formed, with the occasional click or surface noise, has a saucer-like suspension. When new tones are introduced the setting waxes and wanes in terms of stability and general ‘ummph’. The higher pitch, one that is rather unpleasant comes and goes while they engage with the objects before them in motions that are similar to sawing, or other industrial modes of operation. There are variable tone tests along the way, both high and low, that offer surges and rumbling reverb.
This is the epitome of concrete music with little to no rhythm or beat structure whatsoever. As such, the listener should expect something that ascends into pure abstraction, some a bit harsh, some rather moderated into a reductive whitenoise. All along you are constantly aware of the two tinkering away with objects and conducting a shifting racket. Tendril B starts off within much more of an ambient field of humming tonalities. It will be something of a respite for most listeners after the first part of this program. Here things seem more exploratory and much more ‘plugged-in’ as you can here the electricity coursing through it. The microsound mechanics of finite actions is showcased in a warm light – giving off something akin to the bough of a ship in high waters, creaking back and forth. The low-purring dull murmur offers a counter to the distant dredging.
By far, this is not for all ears, in fact, I’d gather this is one of those records that will appeal to people who have not done much in the way of gardening and/or fans of work by lowercase composers like Bernhard Günter. There’s something in common with the act of sowing seeds, digging, dragging, foraging, and repeating the process. Playing on the edges of the (in)organic in sparse ways, allowing for random tonal penetration, until the very end when an indiscriminate reverb takes hold, and fades from the shallow surface.