Showa 44’s Simon Barker and Carl Dewhurst are not just among the world’s finest improvisers, they are also obsessive runners of the barefoot, long-distance variety. This information is far from tangential to their latest offering, because they recorded themselves running in the studio to form a rhythmic bed for two of the three pieces. The very fact that their footfalls are in approximate rather than perfect unison fattens a rhythm that is intrinsically hypnotic. This breadth has been amplified by Barker’s electronically-treated cymbals and overlaid with Dewhurst’s shimmering guitar textures.
Across the years the pair have gradually migrated from more conventional improvised dialogues towards ambient soundscapes, and this album is the fullest expression of this newer approach to date. On the first two pieces, Kaihogyo and Trail, the rhythmic crosscurrents create whirlpools of sound that suck you into a vortex, and meanwhile what sounds like a bass is actually a distorted ride cymbal! The third, Cohere, is a release from the prior insistent rhythmic content; one that just lets you float on a cloud of sound. And, like a cloud, its shape is in constant flux. Fascinating.