Thursday, June 23, 2011

Lea Cummings

Revelations From The New Silence - Volume III - The New Astrology
Kovorox Sound. Kovo-062. CDR

Revelations From The New Silence - Volume IV - Human Potential Movement
Kovorox Sound. Kovo-063. CDR

There seems to be a big push from the electronics giants to get us to buy all manner of new fangled TV technology. It would appear that if by now you haven’t got a 60” plasma 3D HD Sky Box TV Plus wall mounted monster of plastic and glass then you are indeed living in the dark ages. Black and white tellies? 12” portables with bent wire coat hangers for ariels? Not quite but here at IFHQ we still make do with a hand-me-down CRT that comes complete with a busted vertical hold - all is well until you watch a rugby match and then the posts look like bananas. You get used to it though. It may be big, it may be bulky but when we sit down on a night to watch Breaking Bad it still all makes sense. Which had me wondering if these advances in visual technology are worth bothering with? Eraserhead is a classic film that no amount of TV wizardry could improve and I’m not hearing a big clamor for Laurel and Hardy to get the 3DHD treatment.

I would personally prefer advances in listening technology but there doesn’t seem to be a market for it. Most people seem to be quite happy listening to their music through anything they can get their hands on, a pair of tiny plastic ear plugs, the speaker on their mobile phones and for those modern sophisticates the the ipod docking station, a sterile piece of audio equipment that has pushed the barriers of sound quality about as far as the Mongolians have modern dance.

I’m no hi-fi buff but I know a decent sound when I hear one. I still use the main bits of a hi-fi system I bought nigh on thirty years ago. Its ugly and bulky but it still kills mp3 players dead in their tracks. When I crank it up all the tiles on the roof rattle and neighbours three doors down have to turn up their TV’s to compensate. Its the reason why I like to listen to most, if not all my review material on it at least once just to get that full effect.

Which brings me to Lea Cummings latest round of drone works which for some inexplicable reason sound better on a pair of PC speakers than that 30 year old hi-fi. I generally familiarise myself with review material on the PC before transferring it on to what Gary Simmons liked to call his ‘big one’, but for some strange reason the transition was a poor one. I’m fairly certain that when I listened to the first two volumes of this series my ears were in rapture but through which mode of digital transport I’m at a loss to remember. Either way, digitized through PC speakers equals good. Hi-fi bad. Shows what I know.

With 11 tracks spanning these two releases Lea Cummings takes a further break from his Kylie Minoise noise shenanigans to hold down synth chords in varying patterns thus building up drone works that wouldn’t seem out of place on Polish film soundtracks. Its all very filmic indeed and having just scoured my notes for the first two volumes I can’t help but concur with myself. Elixir Vitae sounds like a monged out Charlamange Palastine let loose on the organ at Cologne Cathedral, others rumble along like Arctic tumbleweed all cold and desolate. Shining Dream of Possible Reflection is the mirror image of a William Basinski shortwave piece - the  resemblance is uncanny. But its the filmic quality that lingers. My only small gripe is that I feel drone needs more space to work in and with these eleven tracks coming in at under ten minutes a piece they’re just getting going when the their times up. JLIAT created drone work similar to these and wasn’t afraid to let them run to over an hour in some instances. Maybe Mr. Cummings needs to spread his wings somewhat.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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