Adrian Corker | Music for Lock Grooves
SN Variations (LP/DL)
Mechanical arrangement met with organic live instrumentation casts a hazy blur of cognitive dissonance about Adrian Corker’s latest, ‘Music for Lock Grooves.’ There is, in the perfectly crafted mix, a presence of both human chaotic as well as machine chaotic. What the under-spelled atmospheres grant as ambiance is accentuated in fits by not-quite interrupting alternate layers. This creates a sort of nervous unease even in a comfortable mood.
Hypnotic circuitry melds with rhythmic gong in an almost shamanic pulse in the opening track entitled Inflow Pt. 1 – the five minutes evaporates over a hot coil of molten watery rise & falls. With little transition out of the ‘set-up’ feeling primer, comes the second part, which lasts only a minute. This track introduces repetitive key stroking in monotone with shrill stringed clinches. This feels like an inflow in tension. The third Inflow track – back to a duration of approximately five minutes – makes use of some reverse-music effect with a combination evolving between low-end key strikes and the melodic noise samplings. The lithe mellow rises into a cathartic mount in the final minute.
As the listener turns the corner of the In/Out concept into the fourth track and first Outflow [Pt. 1], they may begin to contemplate the concepts at play within this album. There isn’t a definitive shift or altercation other than the titles. This implies some form of reversal in the lock groove interaction. There may be a technical agenda at play. What is noticed is a harsher presence of noise – static hiss as an instrument. Outflow Pt. 2 repeats the two-spot method of making use of strings. This time it sounds like an affirmatively confided plucking of koto and hushed rustling with compulsory snare rolls and experimental fills making use of brushes. The radar-like cyclical sounds are softly dizzying. The final Outflow abruptly shrieks into play and although it is surrendered to a professional sustain, all of the albums elements come to life and disharmonious resolve.
The album contains little more explanation for the sonic abstractions but for a portrait photo of the artist and the cover art. A press release for the July 5 release divulges some background. Corker had been residing in Warsaw and composed two tracks for acetate. On this digital release, Sam Wilson masters percussion and Aisha Orazbayeva violin; Mark Knoop adds piano finesse as does the voice of Josephine Stephenson. ‘A lock groove is one cycle of one groove on a record. This is 1.8 sec cut at 33RPM and 1.33 cut at 45RPM…’ reads the press release.
Corker has experimented with film score by the use of lock groove music and for this album fed segments of the acetate recording back into a computer. As the material source of the composition breaks down unpredictably, it frames the other traditional instruments (however untraditionally employed) which supplement the performative soundscape. Corker’s discovery of Soviet-era Polish photography is given a nod in the write-up. It’s more of a formal nod to the bleak industrial process-oriented productions which grace this release and listeners alike compliments a la SN Variations.