Review: Bardo Fields – Night Concert for Two Restless (self-released, Jun 27)

The first of Night Concert for Two Restless’s “notes” begins with the soothing noises of unadulterated nature, but before even the midpoint of the track it’s clear that the familiar sounds of the outdoors will play an adjunct role rather than its usual superior one, for the first appearance of added electronics tears apart the very fabric of the piece up to that point. Yet the following segment proves it’s not quite that simple either; in fact, throughout the entirety of this digital debut from newly minted Belgorod project Bardo Fields, bird calls, rustling leaves, and the unmistakable limitlessness of open air act as both workable sound material and a strong physical setting, entirely distorting the tired dichotomy of in/out. The “musical” intrusions take many forms, and are certainly much more eclectic than the modest description of “guitar snatches and pedal drone” would imply: seismic low-end feedback rumble, tactile thump-loops like stumbling footsteps, meandering solo guitar primitivism, sounds of wood cracking and popping that could either be the result of manual breakage or a tactically placed bonfire. Rough-hewn, homegrown, earthy… these are all adjectives that come to mind when listening to Night Concert, because for all of its odd, volatile abstractions there’s a central element of personality, an undeniable amount of soul that shines through just as brightly during the textural mishmashes and spatial subversions as the conventional guitar playing.

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