London-based improvisors Jonathan McHugh and Mark Wastell fuse analogue synthesizer, mixing desk and 32” tam-tam into static, feedback, noise and drone. Hydriotaphia is a document of their first meeting as a duo.
"A combination of ARP 2600, mixing desk and 32” Paiste tam tam, recorded in 2009 at the Electronic Music Studios of London’s Goldsmiths College. The name of the synthesizer might justify the snoopy inquirer’s thinking to a certain French lady working with the same brand of wave generator. However, in spite of the fact that the 45 minutes are – as expected – dominated by low frequencies, there’s not too much inHydriotaphia associable to Madame Radigue. The governing sonority is that born from the gong, which Wastell caresses and strokes following what should be done with a feline who responds purring, closing the eyes and looking harmoniously collaborative until you rub him the wrong way. The alternance between a sense of concentrated study and a prologue to a hypothetical awesome experience is mildly contrasted by the synthesizer’s subtle hisses and small fizzy noises keeping the listener’s feet partially planted in the ground, which is needed to observe the spectral gradations without getting lost in a cloudy bliss and losing focus. Occasionally, the muscle of the synthetic emissions defines the global texture’s shape a little more; those are the moments in which McHugh and Wastell ride their creature’s power, letting some weight grow in the music’s otherwise unearthly emergence. At any rate this is classy stuff, definitely recommended to cultists of serious static droning." - Massimo Ricci, Touching Extremes
Jonathan McHugh / arp synthesizer, mixing desk
Mark Wastell / 32" paiste tam-tam
1. Hydriotaphia - 45:04
Recorded by Jonathan McHugh at the Electronic Music Studios, Goldsmiths College, London 2009.
Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC
Mark Wastell is a versatile improvising musician who has played a central role in the British improvised music scene for over a quarter of a century. He has performed and recorded extensively and his varied resume includes projects with Derek Bailey, Phil Durrant, John Butcher, Lasse Marhaug, Rhodri Davies, Simon H. Fell, Burkhard Beins, John Tilbury, Mattin, Mark Sanders, Tony Conrad, Evan Parker, Tim Barnes, Bernhard Günter, Keith Rowe, John Zorn, Peter Kowald, Joachim Nordwall, Otomo Yoshihide, Paul Dunmall, David Toop, Alan Wilkinson, Max Eastley, Hugh Davies, Julie Tippetts, Alan Skidmore, Mike Cooper, Chris Abrahams, Stewart Lee, Clive Bell, Arild Andersen, Jan Bang, Maggie Nicols, Thurston Moore and David Sylvian.
Jonathan McHugh is an electronic musician and recording engineer with longstanding interests in the emphasis on sound texture rather than musical structure. He currently deals with audio feedback systems, sound synthesis and live signal processing programmes. Jonathan has collaborated with a variety of artists including Benedict Drew, Phil Durrant, Jem Finer, Dominic Lash, Dawn Scarfe, and Lawrence Williams.