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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

The Polarities by Watch Repair

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The book and music design areas of my website are still overdue for a proper update but I’ve added this recent design for my friends in Watch Repair. This is another excellent series of compositions that resist easy categorisation or description, a quality that has reviewers on sales websites reaching for the clichés. A writer like Timothy J. Jarvis, however, delivers a more perceptive appraisal:

The Polarities is an engrossing mix of acoustic composition (predominantly picked strings and chimes, though the instrumentation is incredibly dense), musique concrète, and some found sound and serial elements. Plucks, decaying chimes, creaks, harsh bursts of static, slides rubbed on wound strings, spectral radio broadcasts, rumbling bass, unnerving electronic textures, beautiful guitar picking, all intermittently smothered in drones, by turns ominous and shimmering.

Much of contemporary acoustic composition is a little trite, emptily sentimental, romantic, and twee. The Polarities entirely avoids the pitfall of mawkishness, but it is much more, and much more affecting, than an exercise in composition. Watch Repair are interested in texture and tone and embrace dissonance as a counterpoint to melody. They make difficult music that requires and rewards attentive listening. But also music that is mesmerizing and genuinely moving, often eerie and haunting. (more)

My task on this release, as with last year’s The Tidal Path, was mainly to make the CD insert look presentable, the group having already chosen the fine cosmological engraving. The CD comes packaged in a plastic wallet with a bonus 3-inch disc of related music, and there’s an extended mix of one piece at Soundcloud. I think this is their best release to date. Watch Repair are now embedded in the Bandcamp world (as are related artists, Warper’s Moss) so you can judge for yourself.

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Previously on { feuilleton }
Seven Harps by Warper’s Moss
The Tidal Path by Watch Repair
Watch Repair

 


 

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