Over two years in preparation, Linear Obsessional is proud to release this album of electronic music by the highly respected and very active British improvising musician Phil Durrant. 'Sowari Modular' features tracks using either modular synth assemblages or tracks made with single semi-modular synthesisers. Ranging from enveloping drone pieces influenced by Eliane Radique through to more "gestural" pieces incorporating outside sounds such as electric motors and wine glasses, the album is a blueprint of singular patches and hairtrigger fluctuations - a very physical music from a very arcane source.
released April 23, 2019
Recorded 2017 and 2018 in Phil Durrant's studio.
Post-production, mixing and mastering in November 2018.
Cover painting by Kev Hopper.
"The highly respected improvisor Phil Durrant forks over fertile new ground with this release. Whether it be composition, his involvement in New London Silence with Angharad Davies, Rhodri Davies and Mark Wastell as a violinist; his solo or collaborative work with modular synthesisers or more recently exploratory mandolin in a duo with guitarist Martin Vishnick and others, Durrant has an enviable reputation. Sowari Modular is Durrant solo and in inquisitive mood, perhaps due to Linear Obsessional head Richard Sanderson’s policy of open-mindedness and regard for his artists’ freedom to choose whatever they wish to submit to his imprint. To my mind, Sanderson’s approach produces wildly varied - but always excellent - output. Sowari Modular is no different. Named in reference to Durrant’s trio with Burkhard Beins and Bertrand Denzler, Trio Sowari - or perhaps, more literally, his role within it -
“ 'Sowari Modular' features tracks using either modular synth assemblages or tracks made with single semi-modular synthesisers. Ranging from enveloping drone pieces influenced by Eliane Radique through to more "gestural" pieces incorporating outside sounds such as electric motors and wine glasses, the album is a blueprint of singular patches and hairtrigger fluctuations - a very physical music from a very arcane source.”
according to the label’s marketing.
Opening track “Survey” is an exploration of imaginary terrain. Terror and terroir. Tramlines. Moving tones. Motorways. “Misty” bounces along like a monster-fied mutant Pong video-game.
“Zero Coast” is thick with analogue synthesis and is more aggressive, you might say. Analogue synths seem to be often in control of their owners rather than the other way around and I wonder if this might be the case here; Durrant locked in a battle of will with the angry filters and oscillators. “Sweep” is longer at 11 minutes and more meditative and explores the less audible ends of the frequency spectrum before generating a tone reminiscent of Tuvan throat-singing with occasional crystalline pitch shifting effects.
“Radio Gag” gets staticky - kind of like what you might hear from a pocket short wave radio if you were Jeff Bridges in Tron. “From Another” sounds like something I imagine you might hear drifting out of an open window as you stroll past the IRCAM building on a summer afternoon. “Field” utilises a simple machine rhythm as a base on which to build seemingly random, autonomous sound events. Erosion quickly sets in and like the sands from a south coast beach, the noises and little sequences find themselves drifting off and settling in places far away from where they started. No electronic groynes have yet been provided. At fifteen minutes, “Still” is the longest piece on Sowari Modular. Typical perhaps of Durrant’s occasional interest in a drone-based approach, it is made up of small, gentle modulations and developments; a well-chosen handful of shimmering fragments introduced slowly and then left to fend for themselves.
The portrait of Phil on the sleeve is by painter/bassist Kev Hopper, (he of Stump, Ticklish and Prescott), who also releases his own music on this excellent South London imprint."
Honest Music for Dishonest Times