Monday, April 26, 2010

The Hafler Trio/Colin Potter/Andrew Liles - Three Eggs (2006)

This collaboration between three of modern experimental music's finest minds is without a doubt one of the finest ambient outings I have ever heard. The individuality, creativity and atmospheric nature of the music herein is truly an achievement, especially considering the rather limiting requirements of ambient music in general.

The Hafler Trio is the work of Andrew McKenzie, who has produced consistently high quality music for nearly three decades. Andrew Liles is a sound artist who has collaborated with all the greats included remixes of Current 93's classic albums, and Colin Potter is an engineer and the only regular Nurse With Wound member besides Steven Stapleton. This album was planned to be part of a tour featuring these three artists, but the tour nver materialized and we are left only with this all too brief record as an artifact.

The influence of all three artists is present, but the music probably most resembles the solo work of the Hafler Trio. The tone is generally frigid, with high pitched drones conjuring up images of desolate tundra and polar winds. Various electronic blips and fluttering noises punctuate the sound scape, and although most of the tracks are fairly similar it is a testament to the skill of the musicians that there remains enough variety to hold one's interest from start to finish. About halfway through the record, the music fades out almost completely leaving a long patch of near silence. Oddly, this actually works well as part of the composition, and at first you may not even notice that the music has diminished to sub-audible levels. What follows proves that the group is not without a sense of humor. After nearly ten minutes of extremely quiet sound, we are given a wake up call with a single, loud metallic bang. Woe unto anyone who turned their speakers way up during the quiet bits. Their ears are probably still ringing.

The album closes with "Exclusivity on an Aquatic Theme," a track which lives up to its name built, as it is, around some finely textured gurgling sounds. It's arguably the best track on here, and certainly a good note to end on. 3 Eggs was released in a minimal (though lovely) paper sleeve in a limited edition of 1000 copies. If you can manage to track down a copy, I highly recommend it.

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