'GOAT LINES' cdr SEVEN HARES 01... AVAILABLE THROUGH US: Four tracks recorded April 08 on tour in Europe with our friends Helhesten & The Hunter Gracchus. 3 tracks recorded in collaboration with Pascal Nichols (Stuckometer, Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides, Neon Temple…) & 1 duo jam of mainstays Rob Lye and Ben Morris. Instrumentation including: violin/ Shaahi Baaja/drums/percussion/vocals/sax:::::::::::::::'Excellent assortment of string drone (ala Tony Conrad/Third Ear Band) low level Incus style improvisation and small instrument subterfuge'-David Keenan, Volcanic tongue.
A wave of releases is available for your eager ears from Peckham’s very own Chora. To begin with I’ll look at the strongest and most clear release from this junk-drone-gamelan improve unit - “Goat Lines”. The record is comprised of four tracks, each documenting a live session from French/Spanish cities. Chora’s evolving line up comprises of core members Rob Lye and Ben Morris, this time joined by Pascal Nichols, from the sublime Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides. The CD is packaged with Chora’s trademark black ink illustrations. It is divided into two single folds of rich textured card, wrapping the CDR in a robust skin.
The album begins in Paris with eerie string drones contrived with loose plucks and scrapes. Immediate alien geometry is apparent through murky primal human groans; that feel like early man in puzzled communication with the monolith. The aches and scrapes loom with a wheeze that twitters with high pitched squeaks creating a theatrical foreboding. There is an underlying element of tranquillity that remains soothing beneath the din. The loose-knit improv reminds me of brothers Opalio, but we are soon directed into a surreal blues territory with patterns that remind me of Loren Connors avant-garde group work. The percussive element creeps forth with strangled dogs and jabberwocky steps.
The shortest of the quartet finishes as we arrive in Barcelona. The distance feels like a brief excursion making way as exhalation might to an impending gasp. Slow creeping fumbling like a pack of inquisitive wolves investigating abandoned instruments that lay strewn in some moonlit clearing. Violin and blissful strumming sing over Nichols kinetic percussion. Taught country and blues can be deciphered through a haze of improvised clutter. The organic nature of the performance, the intricate solos and brave juxtapositions versus sweet coherence forms some of the most rewarding sounds Chora have ever laid down. The story unfolds and enters brooding bass-leaden territory letting fear seep in with transparent fingers. There is a real horrorshow aesthetic that I’d happily compare to Dream/Aktion Unit’s frightening free-jazz.
Just northward we arrive in Bilboa. This is a very loose, percussive session, that feels like the locust buzz so pronounced on their Singing Knives record – only this time comprised of hitting instruments. Imagine the ethic of Clogs wonderful Stick Music project, projected with the audacity and playfulness of Lauhkeat Lampaat. As the rain pours down with relentless determination, and the wind howls through my frail slat-windows, I feel like this heavy bombardment of clattering instruments issues with perfect symmetry. Midway as the jumbled percussion escalates, strings are introduced like the inevitable digestion after a fearsome chewing session – I am the antelope in the gullet of the lioness.
Final destination. Full circuit. Paris Again. Slower exploration evolves over 23minutes, beginning with a strange resonance that brings to mind unusual Japanese warbling via mentalist throat-singing (i.e. Sitaar-tah!). This is a far more drone-centric effort that builds with a skewed Taj Mahal Travellers narrative. Some low bowing and high strings drill until met with soothing low tones. Screeches and lush string play (think C. Spencer Yeh) creep into action forging a solid canopy above a timid base. This develops further incorporating what sounds like howling vocals – wind caught in the hallways of antiquated dwellings. 8/10 - Peter Taylor, Foxy Digitalis