Stelzer/Murray
Connector
Cassette HMS 045


Touching Extremes

November 2017

Howard Stelzer and Brendan Murray pertain to a class of sound artists not excessively represented in the places that count. According to that logic we knew from the start that this material would be momentous, its intensity deriving from the abundance of subliminal consequences rather than bell-and-whistle ostentation.

[Connector] comes on cassette – a resurgent trend for numerous labels active in this area – and incorporates four tracks mostly born from the implementation of wearing-away tapes, continuities of uncertain descent and readjusted field recordings. The music’s gist is hypnotically iterative, minus any related banality. A sometimes begrimed cross of mechanical premonition and congenital swelling, with frequent shifts across ear-boosting foresights.

Inside what the press notes correctly call "long-view compositional strategies" Stelzer and Murray located a common ground, extrapolating mind-altering resounding properties from a soil of reshaped frequencies and humming extensions. In rare circumstances the connection of a solitary human specimen with a superior level of discernment can happen via a simple step-up means (such as, say, the monotone whirring of a refrigerator). A few sections of this work remind us of those lucky incidents, whereas others depict the rotting process of erstwhile "celestial vibration". Useful tools for dramatically lowering the "perception of the self/actual worth of the being" ratio.

The whole release is brilliant, no question. However, in "Three," the pair amplifies to the maximum degree the sense of detachment from futile earthly issues. From a Dockstader-ish stratification of harmonics the textural quality gradually mutates, ultimately reaching a stage where the regular luminescence of a thought just disintegrates into fossilized shards. This is perhaps the (purely symbolic) top of a long overdue collection, Stelzer and Murray – friends for ages – having never cooperated ahead of this tape. It turned out to be a thoroughly fulfilling statement: all substance, no frills. Inevitably, one might conclude. - Massimo Ricci