Review: rhizome.s – Affinités Sélectives Volume 1 (self-released, May 17)

This album, released by the internet label rhizome.s, consists of two live improvisations. The first, “Back Feeder,” was recorded by Gaudenz Badrutt, Ilia Belorukov, and Alexander Markvart; while the second, “Gezeugt,” was recorded by Quentin Conrate, Matthieu Lebrun, Laure-Anne Pudbut, and Fréderic Tentelier. Consistent with the label’s main focus, the two pieces are quite minimal, developing and unfolding with quiet creaks, reserved electroacoustics, and the careful use of instruments. The elements of “Back Feeder” are more scattered, but begin to subtly coalesce like dispersed magnets slowly attracting into a cluster. Markvart’s prepared guitars take on an almost cello-like throatiness, only joined in this register by the electronics while wispy cacophonies clash in the high end. In contrast, “Gezeugt” is a deliberate, droning piece, its hypnotic sustained tones beautifully complemented by Conrate’s textural percussion and distant, muffled tape samples. One of the album’s most sublime moments occurs when the drone retracts and reveals a field recording of what sounds like a security checkpoint at an airport. Affinités Sélectives Volume 1 was a beautiful introduction for me into the extensive catalog of rhizome.s.