Trace/Venn by Overlay

Overlay | Trace
Tone List (DL)

Having recently become privy to (and enthused about) the rugby world cup currently underway in Japan, I also learned of the Haka dances that occasionally precede a match.  This has nothing to do with Overlay’s Trace/Venn release on Tone List (October 29th) aside from the fact that there is an Australian, specifically, aboriginal respect in the tradition.  The minimal gestures Overlay present in two different triadic manifestations of the quartet are rather antithetical to Haka dances.  Instead of preparing for war with boisterous vocalizations and body slapping, Overlay invite a pensive ghostly listening experience.  Eduardo Cossio (electric guitar), Lenny Jacobs (drums), Djuna Lee (double bass), & Dan O’Connor (trumpet) individually commune to generate a daft and stripped-down orchestral essence in this split release.  

The screeching wisps that define Inlet (the first of two extended tracks in the Trace half of the album) are shadowed by sustained dark tones.  The overt musical dissonance between quick shrill licks and basic drone pay a calculated parallel to the cover art.  In the second Trace track Foothills, gentle percussive waves replace the guitar thicket amidst ominous glacial undertones.  This musical homage to the lands of western Australia has a captivating minimalism which strips human interference from the imagery in play.  Imagine geographical drama: tempestuous winds hissing across rolling hills.

Overlay | Venn
Tone List (DL)

Venn (five tracks modest in length) opens with Head of a Swan.  Life erupts! The squall that follows is a gritty sojourn ripe with rapid percussive rolls and lurid bass pulse.  Skua continues the aviary theme.  Another nod to land and contour is Three Bends of Swamp.  The trumpet is featured herein. Seeds of Song and Zooks conclude Venn as onomatopoeia for their titles. The avant garde jazz has terrific concrete meaning as consistent with the album overall.  Listeners may passively trek through these passages which at times lull and at times quip the homelands of the Torres Strait Islander and Whadjuk people of the Noongar nation.

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