Draperies L'Histoire Du Chapeau

The Rat Drifting label is documenting a group of improvisers and songwriters in Toronto in recombinant situations. So far this label's discs have shown that it demands heavy listening to reveal themselves. "Bb/Db" begins with long, slow tones, with Ryan Driver's keys sounding alternately like the most rudimentary electronic sounds or steam escaping - this is not necessarily a bad thing when so many keyboardists try to make their sounds huge and reverbed. Eric Chenaux seems to match his guitar tone to whatever is the relevant tonality and blends in transparently with the proceedings. Chenaux often doesn't sound like a guitarist at all; he's certainly not playing riffs or even notes in the way a guitarist would. Doug Tielli's multi-phonic trombone blurts adds a nice bottom end, and with the absence of any other lower frequencies, the subtleties in the tone come through more clearly than usual. Does this add up to something compelling? Often with sparse improvisation you get the feeling that it would have helped to be there; this is no different. The way to listen to this music is either with one's full attention or not at all, as it will just melt into the background. This particular collection of people and instruments shows promise, and this is a good start. I'd like to see where they go from here, as they continue to develop new techniques of combining these sounds. (Rat-Drifting)