Patrick Farmer and Dominic Lash – Bestiaries

I have been so fortunate to hear so many beautiful pieces of music in the past couple of weeks.  I am still reeling from my “Necks Exposure” and there have been many beautiful soundtracks I have added to my collection.  One that I have had for a few weeks now, is the beautiful Bestiaries by Patrick farmer and Dominique Lash.

This disc is the most sublime treatment of minimalist form. Dominique Lash performs brackets of beauty on his wary, droning double bass while Patrick Farmer teases possibility out from hidden silent edges with different percussion styles.

Both of these musicians are accomplished in their own right, skilled at their various instruments, well-instructed in the traditional modes of music composition. This feeds and informs the work on Bestiaries.  You can hear – no feel their skill in every pluck of the bass, in every tip tap and rustle of the beautiful percussion.

Cinnamologus is track number one – a stirring, crackling almost ten minutes where the bass takes a gentle back step to the exquisitely light tickle of percussion. The bass edges its way in with gentle scrapes against the scratches of ‘other’ – whatever it is that Farmer is bringing to the piece to solicit the almost silent (at times) sounds.

Pard is track two.  In this twenty-five minutes the bass takes over, standing in front with its uncompromising thumping drone.  This gives the piece a funereal feel, as though a march toward silence were taking place. Farmers scratches and sounds slip into the background, but continue to tease their way through to the ear. There is a float of sound almost. The bass tricking me with its fall out of expectation, the percussion moving ahead, but always we go back to the slide and squeak of the bow and the strings and the pluck.

Bonnacon is the almost always presence of silence itself. The sound here is subtle. So subtle my ear has to stretch toward it. That huge double bass is subdued, gently asked to produce at its most fluid. There is some alternative sounds, a blur to the bass’ grind, a machine sound – almost like a breath that never ends soothes me int the background moving forward and backward in a rotational dance with the sound.

Music like this always makes me feel that I am a collaborator. That my ‘skill’ of listening is required, just as a fine novel wants my ‘skill’ as a reader. It occurs to me almost as if I were part of an improv, allowed to hear in whatever way I most   desire at the time. Right now – music like this for me, soothes a savage beast.

The beautiful packaging is designed by Olaf Oxleay and the gorgeous images are by Sarah Hughes.

You can buy your own copy of Bestiaries here.