Monday, April 7, 2014

HYPHEN-AIDED: Rodman Melchior Melchior Rodman

Letha Rodman Melchior/Dan Melchior
Rodman Melchior Melchior Rodman split c-70
Fabrica Records FAB026; also available from Dan's store

I'm a broken record bout these two, fer sure, but that don't mean I gave this tape the once over and filed it straight away. I been soakin' both sides up for weeks now, revelin' in the overlaps in their respective approaches--not to mention alla the curious deviations. Firstly, we can sort out the former. What pervades the whole affair is what I'mma call "indoor music by outdoor people": instrumentation gets brushed by itchy radio mosquitoes and record loops all aquiver; sections get dipped in dub wells deep as lunar lakes; and there are visitations of the physical world, like passing storms (that become applause?) and avian chitchat. And, naturally, they play on each other's sides. But the moods on the whole feel distinct. Letha's cuts, which weave in and out with piano ellipsis that bring to mind the plaintive calls of ancient Swedish pastoral music and the lamp-lit solitude of Inoyama Land's Danzindan-Pojidon, run thru powerful cycles of diminish and renewal; exhaustion refreshed by dark humor. Near the end of her side, there's a tellin' lil snippet of a nurse or doctor's aide talkin' bout contact numbers that breaks off into the closing of the head melody. It just about sawed ya boy in two.
Shapes appear and recede on Dan's side, too, but the vibe is way more cerebral. I ain't talkin' stiff recitations of form or underground rock ratiocination. His longer works of late feel like a walk through dismantled spaces, like the edges of cities: the haunted underpass beneath Franco Falsini's Naso Freddo; the blinking, anxious intersection of VU, The Decayes and Pärson Sound. Things alternate between unglued, mystified guitar passages of brain basement blowouts and synth-coated mood bridges. Letha's music is full of windows, shifting daylight; Dan's with hallways, occasions for meeting.
All around some of the most moving, courageous and enveloping work from both parties and made all the more fascinatin' and puzzlin' when experienced in tandem. How they do it under the circumstances continues to stagger my feeble dome.

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