Text of Light Text of Light

Guitarists Lee Ranaldo and Alan Licht are the bookends for the Text of Light project, bringing along other artists to celebrate/improvise upon the experimental films of Stan Brakhage. Brakhage’s work features dense shifting patterns that can resemble anything from immersion in murky pond water to electron micro-photography. These provide the jumping-off point for the musicians’ exploration. Of the three pieces featured, the first is the most expansive and dynamic, featuring Ranaldo and Licht, as well as saxophonist Ulrich Krieger, drummer William Hooker and turntablist DJ Olive. Moments within the 35-minute piece shine brilliantly, but long passages of overly busy picking, tapping and trilling create the impression of nervous insect energy searching an exit. The second piece is the polar opposite, a trio work with Renaldo, Licht and Olive, where the guitarists seem to be swallowed into the grooves of the DJ’s vinyl. Olive’s bell tones and spectral voices wash cleanly over the high, oriental mood of the guitars’ minimal expressions. The last and shortest piece trades Christian Marclay for Olive and sees William Hooker return for a denser, tightly packed interplay, with all the skittering energy of the first, but with a welcome release point near the end. Without seeing what the musicians are reacting to, it seems a fundamental element is lost in this experience, but as a purely aural document, it is a worthy bit of New York noise. (Starlight Furniture Co.)