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Alan Courtis / Aaron Moore – Bring Us Some Honest Food

Dancing Wayang

Alan Courtis / Aaron Moore - Bring Us Some Honest FoodThe third album turmbling forth from the fertile pairing of Alan Courtis (Reynols and more) and Aaron Moore (of Volcano The Bear, Dragon Or Emperor, Invisible Sports, Textile Trio, etc) follows on from the phonographic slurs of last year’s KPPB with four new tracks which find the duo pushing further at the avant-garde fringes of ludic surrealist interplay.

For Bring Us Some Honest Food, while the post-production of each side of the LP was undertaken remotely in Brooklyn and Buenos Aires respectively, (as with their first two albums), Courtis and Moore recorded their music for the first time together in a studio in London. This serves to give the album a heightened sense of immediacy that immediate musical interaction brings, and is all the better for it – though by no means to the detriment of their earlier recordings.

“The chances of anything coming from Mars”, intones Moore as the clang and clack of instruments being unprepared and disrupted with imaginative insight around him, “are a million to one, they said…” Inevitably, Moore completes the quotation from Jeff Wayne‘s rock opera of HG Wells‘s War of the Worlds with “But still they come”, a sentiment which is rendered progressively more mournful and distanced from the earnest bombast of the original to match the slow descent of the music into piano-chundering disquiet.

This initial plundering of pop culture switches thereafter into reflective swatches of tone and timbre that unfold in a slow acoustic guitar figures and tape interventions, Moore’s cut-ups swirling and sliding softly among Courtis’s semi-primitivist guitar and those ever-abused piano strings of “Portions Of Honesty”. There are electronic passages which trill and swoop with sinister intent, taking a bath in the fragrantly obscured waters of kosmische musik and swimming with the psychic tide until the avant shores are achieved on an electronic beachhead of uncertain dimensions.

On side B, which consists of one long piece called “Dishonest Dessert”, matters take yet more disquieting turns and side alleys, scarred with febrile interjections and uncurling dynamics. Here the woodwind and brass (if that’s where the sounds actually originate) are delirious and determined, the rhythms brightly vibrant and the emergent studio manipulations shimmering with lateral electronic patinas.

When the duo do extend into repetition, it’s with the same passing magpie interest that The Faust Tapes showed for any particular motif or phrase, pulling in Moore’s trumpet or Courtis’s guitar strums like curiosities among the switchback tape constructions. When the full drumkit and what could be a heavily treated electric guitar finally emerges, it’s not dissimilar to setting a tenderfooted Godzilla to caper among the brittle embers of rock’n’roll, and those Faust comparisons seem doubly appropriate.

As the final notes of the piano are hammered out and the trumpet rises up, there’s the feeling of a defiant pairing holding sway against the mundanities of sound, and that the end is a mere detail before the next instalment of the Courtis/Moore adventure in beautifully difficult music from honestly different people.

-Richard Fontenoy-


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