Chris Abrahams: Fluid to the Influence (Room40, 2016)

May 11, 2016 at 10:06 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Chris Abrahams: Fluid to the Influence

Chris Abrahams: Fluid to the Influence

The newest solo album from the Australian pianist (and member of The Necks) layers unconventional guitar techniques, cascading pianos, and abrasive glitches, sounding a bit discordant but balanced. A lot of this album might sound jumbled and displaced at first, but it makes more sense once you listen and get used to it. The tracks are all around 5 minutes in length, and the way they begin doesn’t always indicate the way they’ll end. “1 Liter Cold Laptop”, for example, begins with dazed, buzzing electronic tones and oddly twangy guitar, and halfway through it suddenly breaks and shifts to abrasive drilling noise. “Scale Upon the Land”, on the other hand, is contemplative piano with some minor glitchy processing. “Receiver” is one of the more cluttered, topsy-turvy tracks, with sounds spilling, scratching, and swooping all over the place, in a fascinating way. “Clung Eloquent” is more reflective, jazzy piano with some sort of weird electro-acoustic atmosphere and occasional soft bass drum thumping in the background. “Trumpets of Bindweed” introduces organs and cymbals which ring like bells, and is one of the album’s more spirited, magnificent pieces (even if it doesn’t really progress all that much). “The Stones Continued Intermittently” is a 6-minute drift through a stormy, shifting swamp, and ends up much sparser than most of the album. “As Tranquil As An Apple” has really precise, music box-like metallic tones, spinning and shining prettily, and joined by playful percussion thwacks. “Rust and Comet” seems like some sort of gritty guitar contraption spinning out of orbit. Some of this album reminds me of the more recent Oval material, but generally way more interesting. It’s hard to entirely grasp what he’s doing, but it’s different, and it often sounds great.

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