On Woodwork, poles collide, distances disappear, everything is interchangeable and mobile. Ergo, songs are a smooth and functional surface where the rustic tones of Per Henrik Svalastog's Norwegian zither flow audaciously. Along the way they're intercepted, mixed and reborn into a welter of different sounds, some austere and rhythmical, some hazy and hushed.
One can still faintly detect the warm, bellowing tones of the Kuhorn (a
cow's horn) and the Bukkehorn (ram's horn), but it's usually impossible to identify with any certainty what is real and what is not. "Slow Blowing Wireless" seems to contain the almost gong-like intonation
of the Bukkehorn, but blurred into a series of droning notes and set against a minimal, repetitive burble and grind of electronics, so one could easily be mistaken.
On most other pieces, the music is on the quieter side, nursing out small nuances such that minutely differentiated pitches ring, phase and rub against each other. "Connecting Joints," for one, samples the earthly timbres of the zither, layering loops that weave back and forth in the sound field, while the crunchy electronics' shifts in rhythm and pitch give the composition a rather woozy feel.
There's a downside, however, to all this integration. Not only do the more archaic instruments lose their particularity, it becomes altogether apparent midway through that a great deal of recycling is going on here. Minimal techo and dub already rely on repetition so much as it is; for this album, melting everything down for seamless performance threatens to act as the final nail in the coffin.