Sunday, January 5, 2014

Nagual - S/T (Ergot, 2013)

I first saw Ian McHolm at a solo experimental percussion gig he performed last year. He was obviously proficient in jazz and improvisational techniques. More importantly, he was exceptional at combining his kit skills with various instrumentation to create a full wall of sound. Essentially, McHolm grasps how to actually be a 'one man band'.

He doesn't limit himself to solo recordings though. I listened to his Nagual Cassettes quite often after that night. This is the Oberlin, Ohio improvisational duo he has with David Shapiro, and a collaboration has finally yielded a killer 44 minute LP on Ergot Records.

The two musicians craft meticulous loops to create dark and powerful drones. From from piano and synth, to downright Fripp, these experiments meander toward a sense of doom. One track is even reminiscent of current Swans material, with its extended repetition building immense tension until a burst of drumming is released at the end. This is musician's music but with a deep narrative. Highly recommended!

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