The Static Memories are a free improvising duo from Brighton, UK, consisting of Gus Garside on double bass and electronics and Dan Powell on electronic and acoustic objects. "Puddling" is a collection of 10 pieces. Each of these shorter pieces is a wonderful exploration of timbre and mood some pointillistic, some more impressionistic - subtle, mysterious and enchanting. "Puddling" presents this duo at the top of their game - ever inventive and forging a very individual identity.
released November 5, 2018
All music spontaneously composed by The Static Memories.
Recorded at The Coach House, Kemptown, Brighton, winter and spring 2017 -2018
Dan Powell: Electronic and acoustic objects
Gus Garside (PRS): Double bass and electronics
(c) and (P) 2018 The Static Memories
Cover image and design by David Little
"ust squeezed into the very end of the 2018 Linear Obsessional release schedule is this stunning item from Brighton musicians Gus Garside and Dan Powell. Before I go any further, there is probably a need for disclosure on my part in relation to this duo. Firstly, the label I manage, TSOKL, released the Static Memories’ 2014 album The bloudy vision of John Farley and thus I was closely involved in the brokerage of that release. Secondly, I occasionally record with Dan Powell under the name Brambling. And lastly, I have recently begun developing a project with double bassist Gus Garside. Okay. So far, so incestuous. You may quite reasonably assume – based on this information – that I might be far from neutral in my appraisal of Puddling. It’s fair to say that I have a lot of admiration for these dudes’ musical output, yes, but I was sent a review copy, so my intention is to try my hardest to be impartial.
On Puddling, Garside plays double bass and electronics while Powell uses “electronic and acoustic objects”, “electronic…objects” being a fairly opaque way to describe software and various associated pieces of hardware. But there’s nothing wrong with a little mystique.
I particularly like the pieces that don’t immediately conform to what one might expect from electro-acoustic improvisation: “The Moon”, “Recedes at Daybreak” (an interesting noise at the beginning like hearing distant rock guitar out of doors), “The Homeless”, and “The Fifteenth Boulder” all share a searching quality; an attempt to break new ground. On the other hand, after repeated listens, pieces like “Time and the Hunter” or “The Pilgrimage” could be viewed as a little over-wrought or conventional in comparison, perhaps. One other interesting thing that I’ve not been aware of so much in their previous work, is the inclusion of unprocessed sounds of hand percussion: bellstrings, shakers and the like, drifting and evaporating like small clouds on a summer’s day. It reminds me a little of Powell’s other project, Nil; an improvising duo who use acoustic objects exclusively.
On the whole, Puddling is good, considered, balanced improvisation. The Static Memories refer to their work as “…music spontaneously composed…”. but let’s not split hairs. The pieces appear to have been the result of more than one session, being recorded over winter and spring 2017-2018. So, not your usual free improv, then, but testament to the good taste and discerning palette of Linear Obsessional boss, Richard Sanderson, who has been involved in myriad experimental projects himself and, therefore, knows his onions, as it were."
Paul Khimasia Morgan - Honest Music for Dishonest Times
"s with their previous release, this duo is on a course
to explore improvised music with an electro-acoustic approach, or vice versa. Both ends are well
represented. We hear the most improvising elements coming from the double bass, scratching,
ticking, bowing and whatever techniques Garside uses, and feeding that through the lines of
sound effects; maybe also loop devices? I am not sure there. It could very well be that Powell
picks up the bass sound and reworks that on the spot, or playing around with earlier recordings
of bass material. His electronics is a bit unclear to me; I am not sure if these are loop devices,
stomp boxes or laptop technology. Somehow I don't think the latter is the case here, but I am not
sure if that is really true. There are certain crude elements to the music implying stomp boxes or
devices of that kind. The music is carefully played, yet at the same time also it sounds quite rough
at the edges. Overall the release could have been benefitted from some proper mastering. Now it
is all on the softer side and that might be a deliberate thing, but someone with some mastering
skills could surely have brought out some more out of this, sound wise that is. The music is good
enough and deserves a good polish. Otherwise: a fine release. You may quote me on that"
Franz De Ward - Vital Weekly