Review: Duncan Harrison & Ian Murphy – Slow Lightning (Sham Repro, Nov 2)

If yesterday’s review of Hypnagogic’s sprawling text-sound tape compilation wasn’t enough to sate your voracious appetite for surreal slur and vocal skronk, look no further than this new LP from Brighton fluxers Duncan Harrison and Ian Murphy, a half-collaborative half-split release that digs its knuckly fingers deep into the roots of both the human and the natural world. Side A of Slow Lightning features a series of delirious sketches by Harrison, the field and improvised recordings captured and assembled over the course of the last five years into this “final” result, which sheds the often claustrophobic interiority and domesticity of last year’s peerless Nothing’s Good for a much looser, eclectic, and organic palette that still retains its predecessor’s predilection for nonverbal poetry, the intrigue and sublimity in the extraneous everyday. Stuttering, spectral loops of unusual utterances, rustling leaves and tinkling wind ornaments, gasps and grunts, afterthoughts, a sighing piano lament, all culminating episodically in a finale of violent turntable mayhem reminiscent of his Music from Amplified Flexible Discs tape on Cardboard Club earlier this year. Murphy’s “side” (which also features Harrison) is much more speech-reliant, built upon endless knots and layers of spliced tape, out-of-context muttering, chattering crowds, honking geese, and its own brand of record-and-stylus abuse, here manifesting as something much sparser and gentler. A thoroughly enthralling expressionist sound-canvas from these irreverent partners in crime.

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