Mike Hansen / Tomasz Krakowiak / John Butcher Relay

Does Canadian politeness reside even in the worlds of sound art? Relay would seem to indicate so. Following last year’s collaborative release with saxophonist John Butcher, the Toronto duo of Hansen and Krakowiak offer up four long tracks of turntables, amplified percussion, mini-disc and miscellaneous electronics. Immediately evident is the impression of an outer space surrounding the generated noises. The sounds are initially familiar enough to mistake for room ambience, eventually they are overtaken by more obviously manipulated segments of quiet feedback and looped metal tapping. The pieces undulate, at times gaining more kinetic energy and volume, then dropping back into a trough of near-silence. The duo play well together, not excessively fussy about overcrowding the sound space, but mindful of maintaining an engaging rate of dynamic change. By employing a more physical relationship with their instruments, they also manage to charge their quiet (polite) works with an energy that similar laptop improvisation often lacks. (Spool)