Beatrice Dillon and Rupert Clervaux – Two Changes

two-changes

(Paralaxe Editions)

The first river, it flows, and repeats. Rivulets become a trickle, the trickle begins to rush, the river flows, then repeats. Over time, it encounters obstacles, but the water cuts a path, and repeats. Finally it reaches the sea, where sea birds greet it, and the wind reduces its importance. Does the sea repeat? The sea is forever.

The second river has a much longer lead time, its growth rate begins gradually, extends gradually, and suddenly, right in its middle, you realize how big it’s gotten and how powerfully it traverses the rapids in its path. This happens only one time. The river shakes, becomes its own tributaries, and winks out of existence instead of meeting the sea. This happens only one time.

These patterns are marked by musicians Beatrice Dillon and Rupert Clervaux, with an attention-grabbing assist from Eben Bull on pocket trumpet and zither on “The Same River Twice.” It’s Bull’s contribution that elevates the (admittedly excellent) minimal electronics and found sound and gives the work almost a jazz edge, his flourishes mixed to the point where they, too, seem like samples among the other elements. But the mastery of the material by Dillon and Clervaux is so controlled yet so engaging that the record simply begs for repeat listens. Clicks and pops, phantom low end, and sporadic live percussion are layered and maneuvered, and the result is nothing short of magic.

Side B’s “A Different River Once” does not feature Bull, but it doesn’t need to. Again, the compositional control is apparent, perhaps even more so, as “Different River” diverges from its freewheeling A-side compatriot, comparatively restrained throughout its entire first half. Dillon and Clervaux are content to let the building blocks they work with speak on their own, introducing the electronic components over seven minutes rather than jumping in to a full-scale electronic onslaught. The experimentation is welcome, as at the halfway point the track, out of nowhere, propels forward on an IDM breakbeat. This doesn’t last terribly long, as it becomes deconstructed over the song’s remainder, finally separating into constituent parts with (presumably) studio dialog mixed low beneath it.

Two Changes marks my introduction to these artists. The rivers they navigate are long and change as they go, always culminating in an exciting and satisfying finish, no matter how many times one goes down them. With these words I have built a bridge over these rivers, structures for viewing what has come before and what lies ahead, for preparing yourself for the trip. Cross them as you will.

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