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Re:Cooperation - TransCollaboration

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Artist: Re:Cooperation

Album: TransCollaboration

Label: Uncle Buzz

Review date: Mar. 13, 2003

Long- Distance Creation

The use of looping in music – analog or digital delay and repetition of musical material – allows the musician to exist simultaneously in the sonic past, present, and future. He or she plays a line in the present: it comes back again as the past made present; the musician must respond with sound or silence to create the future, which becomes the present and then the past and – always, eventually – the returning present moment. As John Cage said, “Repetition is a form of change.”

Looping and delay devices allow the solo musician to collaborate with time and space via the intelligence of machines. Add another musician to the equation and the already rich possibilities are increased tremendously. James Sidlo and David Cooper Orton, of Texas and the UK respectively, met by way of the Looper’s Delight website (http://www.loopers-delight.com) and embarked on a five year project of co-composition, trading tapes back and forth overseas, eventually releasing the resulting music as Re:Cooperation on TransCollaboration. It’s a refreshing and compelling musical journey, alive with textural nuance and the joy of discovery.

It seems a tri-partite journey; beginning with simple mid-fi pieces that owe much to the Music for Films-era Eno-Fripp axis: drifting guitars with e-bow envelopes, swathed in reverb atmosphere.

A few tracks in, the reverb falls away, the guitars start to sound more recognizably like guitars, and some Indonesian gamelan and looped drum patterns are woven through the mix. There is an appealing sense of fun to these middle pieces: interlocking African-style guitars percolate; the drum loops are cheesy, thin, and very obviously fake.

Something happens in the last third of the disc; the reverb returns, and the pieces, though mostly still rhythmically based, take on a resonant spaciousness and mystery; the collaboration has found a place that no other combination of musicians is likely to create. There is a gentle exhilaration evinced by the music, along with an attention to sonic space and detail that makes these pieces stand up well to repeated listening.

In many ways Re:Cooperation makes me nostalgic for a time, not so long ago, when musical experimentation and discovery were alive with a relaxed open-mindedness, sans ideological or socio-musico-intellectual axes to grind. What I find refreshing here is that this is music made by two artists who seem to have no agenda beyond that of following sound and music into evocative and interesting new places.

By Kevin Macneil Brown

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