WITH // WITHOUT
I’ve never been in a float tank, but suspect this music may sometimes be an aural equivalent. Impermanence is a Melbourne trio whose music has a way of disengaging itself from gravity – without sending you to sleep. Their methods of keeping you absorbed include maintaining a vague sensation of velocity even when the sounds hang in a state of suspension – rather like planets that are hurtling through space while seeming immobile. They also employ climactic points, and occasionally they jolt you back to earth with solidified rhythms.
In a sonic first, Bianca Gannon doesn’t just play piano and gamelan, she sometimes plays them simultaneously, while Josh Holt plays acoustic and electric basses and Elliott Hughes the trumpet (frequently treated electronically). They eschew a pointillistic approach to improvisation in favour of sustaining a strong sense of narrative and even structural thinking, often via simple melodic motifs. Perhaps the most enthralling textural orbit they inhabit comes when muted trumpet, gamelan and bowed bass collide (as on Robocats) in a world of eerie suspense. The gamelan can also add a ritualistic dimension on occasion, increasing the possibilities across a double album.