23 November 2002
Cremaster is the Spanish duo of Alfredo Costa Monteiro (objects on electric guitar) and Ferran Fages (feedback mixing board). 23 November 2002 is a 3" release, a single track just over 20 minutes in length. The two instruments at work here are excellent complements to one another, the board high-pitched and varied, Monteiro's guitar sporadically prepared with numerous devices. The results are percussively electronic, with no cadence and certainly no feeling of outright musicality. Instead the duo creates their own environment that is characteristic of the best of experimental music. Monteiro could be said to be a student of the Keith Rowe approach to guitar, if only in their "preparedness," before or during improvisation. I get the feeling though that the Spaniard's methods are completely separate; rather than occasional washes of sound, Monteiro focuses on one, maybe two techniques or experiments at a time, moving between sources and careful not to exploit too many possibilities at once. He and Fages, whose board is akin to the "no-input" type associated with Toshi Nakamura, remain conscious of the interest of silence without ever lapsing into complete quietness. Fages plays with his board's feedback with both finesse and abrasive departure, and never settles fully into a drone-type or background role. Using gritty distortion, he takes the piece to a high-energy climax about mid-way through the track, where the full characters of the duo's instruments come into play. All said, the disc runs its course with a real sense of balance, no matter the radical methods used in the process. This is a fine release and one that exhibits a good range of artistry and imagination.