Tide is a beguiling and impressively conceived and performed collection that testifies to the continuing vitality of the experimental project – considered in its broadest possible sense as a configuration of art and underground music striving at silence, freedom and exploratory simplicity.
The title piece is typical, in drawing on indeterminate principles of assemblage (cyclical loops within and across parts) in a context of composed silence, durational play and collaged, oblique repetition. The piece is actually three solo pieces: one for clarinet and electronics, the second for cello, and the third for oboe d’amore, which can be overlaid as the performers see fit. The composite version of the work narrates a series of comings together and fadings away. The clarinet slowly amasses a viscous, glowing throb of tones barely heard but stacked in canon. Christopher Redgate’s wheedling oboe jolts in the middle section, striking the listener out of a trance. Anton Lukoszevieze’s quiet cello, played with a modified bow that allows the sounding of all four strings at once, dominates the final nine minutes with its clotted but distant painted chords, the oboe now silent and the clarinet petering to retreat, the effort to find new truths and revelations suspended or displaced for now.
The second disc of Tide comprises the solo versions of the composite title work. As a piece of programming this is an effective conceit; hearing the solo parts now seemingly out of context presents them in a completely new light, pock-marked by the ghosts and sonic spectres of other hearings. Redgate’s Burnham Air is just as fleet and severe as in the earlier version, though if anything its precipitate rising scales and the lengthened, oscillating tones that see-saw with those scales suggest an even greater degree of dramatic intensity than before, where they were at least heard as dialogue and not pleading monologue. Lukoszevieze’s Tide sounds with much more detail and clarity in its solo version, revealing another deliberate cyclical structure of a steady rise and then reverse fall, a sonic tiding that rhymes with the translucent wabi-sabi tides of Andrew Sparling’s clarinet in his solo Sky.