Rhodri Davies | Dominic Lash – Delicate Double Bass, Harp and Wind


Rhodri Davies – Five Knots

Compost and Heist Split Series 007 Available for download.

Rhodri Davies makes the sounds on this beautiful recording by placing an electric harp in two positions on the stone pier at Aberystwyth, his home town on the west coast of Wales.  The recording is called Five Knots, which makes sense when you realise he is refering to the wind. So the sound you are hearing, is the gentle caress of the wind on the instrument – its the god in man playing here. The two recordings have been overlaid, with one each in the left and right channels. The recording was then masterd by Graham Halliwell.  This is a swelling, swooping sound that touches the Kandinsky-esque vibration in your soul. Notes meet, then move away, circular swirlings of persistant delicate drone.

It can’t be forgot, when listening to this piece, that the wind plays the instrument. A thing not seen but felt. The wind has no voice here except for the harp, and even this communication is accidental, not deliberate. At least, rationality would inform us (remind us rewind us) of this. When the music the wind has given, has been recieved, overlaid each  on the other, each poetic statement over the other, I was reminded of Heideggers demonstration that if there is anything so fundamental as being, then it can only perform the complexity and density of well written poetic language. We have the idea from Faucault that history is not a grand succession of events and concepts but rather a fluctuating epistemological horizon in which certain types of statement become possible. Given the placement of these ideas next to each other, and the sound of wind playing in concert with itself, something that was not previously possible, comes alive.

Notes from the website:

Telyn electronig a gwynt/Electric harp and wind

5 hydref/October 5th 2008

Sianel chwith: telyn yn wynebu ynys Enlli
Sianel dde: telyn yn wynebu ynys Lochtyn

Left channel: harp facing Anglesey
Right channel: harp facing Lochtyn island

Y lanfa garreg, ger traeth tan y bwlch, Aberystwyth
The stone pier, near tan y bwlch beach, Aberystwyth

Recordiwyd gan/Recorded by: Angharad Davies and Rhodri Davies

Cymysgwyd gan/Mixed by: Adam
Ol-gynhyrchu /Mastering: Graham halliwell

Diolch/Thanks: Sarah Hughes, Patrick Farmer, Angharad closs, archifau a chofnodion modern, Aberystwyth.


Dominic Lash – assay

Compost and Heist Split Series 007 Available for download.

Along with the Rhodri Davies piece is this beautifully delicate piece from Dominic Lash. It is described as a solo improvisation with some premeditation and is just under ten minutes. The track is recorded by Jonathan McHugh.  It starts with a quiet rustling brush on the body of the bass. Soon the bowed strokes arrive, sounding almost like the creaking wooden bones of a ship at sea.  They build gently with some fits and starts, always keeping the listener on their toes. They don’t drone, but they are sparse and consistent.  At the very midpoint of the track, the brushing builds to a rhythic crecendo, a reminder that Dominic is playing everything here – so the sound is all the more remarkable for the complexity of delivery.

In Dominic Lash’s competent hands, the Double bass moves into a mode where it appears to almost be aware of itself. It shuffles from immancence and silence to explicitness.  There seem to be moments when it is almost not itself any longer, the improvisation becoming the poetry that predicates and structures this world such as we are able to apprehend, comprehend or know it.  The discourse emerges as the entirety and not the entirety at the same time, sharing the same bizzare fusion of organic and inorganic, separate and together living elements of Kafka’s Odradek. This results in an uncomfortable, but at the same time beautiful and mould-shattering poetry of sound that is very fresh for me.

Notes from the website:

Solo double bass, recorded by Jonathan McHugh at Goldsmith’s College, 11th September 2008

A solo double bass improvisation performed with some premeditation, a bow, a brush and one little edit but no processing or overdubbing. A small number of simple and distinct ideas sustained and occasionally overlapped.

Richard Pinnell has written an excellent review of these recordings (A long time ago of course – I am WAY behind the 8-ball) so be sure to check it out.