cd ebb+flo – Brian Morton (the Wire)

Annette works AWCD0005-6, 2 x cd

By Brian Morton.

cd eb + flo is Kaffe Matthews’s latest alphabeticised instalment after cd Ann, cd Bea, cd cécile, cd dd as well as the magnificent In Case of Fire Take the Stairs with Andrea Neumann and Sachiko M, which was released on IMU rather than Annette Works.

Anyway, here we are, 100-some minutes of live sampling and theremin processing in a variety of room feedbacks spread between London, Essex, Québec, Vienna and Perth (whether Scotland or Australia is not specified.) What’s still here is a delicacy of touch and sensitivity to the drama of duration which has marked all of Matthews’s works. She has no apparent interest in chasing down the creative potential of boredom, and none in creating trance environments in which the listener sits becalmed rather than entranced. Matthews allows no sound to last longer than seems natural, and manipulates transitions with an unforced sense of occasion that had me smiling spontaneously through the discs, even after several hearings of both.

What is lacking is some of the gentle tension and musical argument heard in her work with guitarist Andy Moor (aka Andy Ex) and in her astonishing trio album with Neumann and Sachiko that remains the pinnacle of Matthews’s recording career to date. All these pieces were “reconstructed at home”, and perhaps that is the problem with them, slight as the quibble is. They seem too gentle, too familiarly at hand, and at times slightly airless.

Better than almost anything else in this idiom in 2003 though.