“Hidden Name” reviewed by Cyclic Defrost

Strewn together during a stay at a Manor Farm House in the South of England, Hidden Name invents its own mythic past. Its swooning, woody tones and swathes of haunting, echoing noise wipe away time’s contributions and seek out original memory, a universal stillness, a tantalizing quiver of immobility.

Seductive subtleties are present in the manners in which clusters of piano, flute and cello form new tonal configurations while always seeking union with a sky of pealing electronics. Compositions such as ‘Fugue’ have the fluid motion and expansiveness of the sea, as it cradles digital debris and bells that toll and reverberate. Other pieces, especially ‘Quartet For Flute, Piano And Cello’, maintain this fluttering delicacy and pendulous musing while at the same time embracing a grim eloquence, as the gurgling electronics pick up some grit and grime from the guttural, sibilant scraping of a violin. Such moments stand out as fleeting nightmares in an album that otherwise breathes with audible regularity.

Pieces on a whole are short, yet compositionally measured so as to convey an enriched sense of depth and vividness. At just under two minutes in length, ‘Belle Etoile’, with its clanking piano refrain, is slowly filled out by incidental sounds and light digital nicks and scratches, until all of a sudden the heavy beating of rain reveals that one is caught outside in a wide-open pasture of red-singed autumn gardens. ‘The Planets’, meanwhile, is a voluptuous twenty-minute composition which is draped in tender ambience and flickering, theremin-like pulses that continue to divulge these solemn, graceful themes.

Max Schaefer

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