It's been a while since hearing anything from the bale hands of Tim Olive so it's good to report that his 2009 duo with the stalwart Alfredo Costa Monteiro is a solid, absorbing effort.
Both wielding electronics and metal of various sorts (I don't pick up any accordion or paper on the part of Costa Monteiro), they fashion a thick, rough, spiny set of two pieces, the music elbowing its way through, leaving shavings and unexpected bruises. The first track is quite packed but not overstuffed, several things usually in operation at a given moment--throbbing hums with erratic static and scoured metal here; when a couple of sources drop out, the remaining one or two acquire a ghostly effect, echoing, arguing. One of the impressive things is how varied the landscape is while feeling quite cohesive and of a piece. Not groundbreaking by any means and fans of the pair will find themselves in recognizable territory, but the decision toward fullness is one fraught with the "peril" of hyperactivity and these guys never get near that particular trap.
As with much good music of this character, it's tough (for me) to offer much more than a sonic description and perhaps to give an idea of the shape or scale of the piece(s). That latter is a subtle thing, but here one does get a feeling of breadth, of compass. The sounds range widely, shrill to deep, high to low, though the volume level is fairly consistent, resting in the medium zone and, as said, active without being overly busy. But, for example, when early in the second track, when you hear what sounds like large, hollow metal bars tossed down an empty, linoleum-tiled hallway (which I'm sure is not the actual source), it connotes something more than just the aural sensation, summoning a vague story line, some plot that can't quite be discerned. It's magical moments like this (and there are several) that make recordings like "33 bays" so valuable.
Don't let it slip by.
Brian Olewnick, Just outside
At many points throughout 33 Bays - the very first release on the 845 Audio label - I find myself reminded of a piece of Velcro being teased apart with agonising elongation. Both Tim Olive and Alfredo Costa Monteiro appear to derive a mutual pleasure in dramatizing moments of friction and contact – bringing materials together and then forcing them into intimate bouts of tension, during which movement and sound are squeezed out through a serious of guttural, metallic scrapes and thick bubbles of muffled feedback. There’s a sickening slow motion at work throughout much of the music – the pair drag out points of impact so that what could have been a brisk, painless clang becomes a dirty, prickly act of peeling away, placing focus on both the cautious coming together of materials and their equally uncomfortable separation.
Needless to say, it’s a very physical music. Even when a more explicitly synthetic sound source creeps in between the layers, its movement and texture renders it somewhat “life like”; groans of microphone feedback feel as though they’re being forced out of a lo-fi intercom under excruciating pressure, while little spills of static arrive in trickles and sprinkles rather than pure, free-flowing downpours. What brings the duo into such intimate company is their ability to gift illusionary weight and touch to the abstract – the listener is left with sounds that they can all but hold in their hands, watching their rusted and serrated surfaces grind against eachother at a speed that grants great importance to each tiny clunk and rattle.
Jack Chuter, ATTN Magazine
33 bays is the second release from the duo of Canadian guitarist Tim Olive and Portuguese electro-acoustic artists Alfredo Costa Monteiro, following their previous A Theory of Possible Utterance (Zeromoon, 2011). On 33 bays, Olive plays one-string electric guitar plus electronics, while Monteiro uses electro-acoustic devices. The album was recorded live in the studio with no overdubs, in Kyoto, in October 2009, during a Japanese tour. Over several days the pair recorded a number of pieces of which only two were selected for this album, those two running for just under 28 and 16 minutes respectively.
As is so often true with albums where more than one participant is employing electronics, it is often impossible to determine who is responsible for any particular sound. The only sounds that can safely be attributed (to Olive) are those of an amplified guitar string being struck and scraped. Otherwise, the combination of the contributions is best judged as a totality. Not long into the first untitled track, there is a prolonged passage of a sound reminiscent of stone being scraped; as that is not in accordance with the credit for either player, it is best to appreciate the sound in context without being too concerned about its source; an observation that is true of the whole album.
Although their individual contributions often cannot be identified, the whole does sound like two artists playing together, responding sensitively to each other and interacting with one another. Electronically, they generate a huge array of sounds that go way beyond "pure" electronic sounds—sine waves, white noise etc—and are reminiscent of real world sounds such as stones being scraped or percussion being rattled.
The duo seems comfortable working with long durations, slowly building up its soundscapes and then letting them evolve slowly and organically without feeling compelled to introduce any sudden or dramatic changes. So, there are no nasty surprises or shocks. Rather, this is rich, detailed music that can serve different purposes: it can function as ambient, background music that can "just be there" without acting as a disturbance or irritant; but, if given full attention, it contains sufficient detail to command attention and repay repeated listens, offering something new each time.
John Eyles, All about jazz
Premier enregistrement du label japonais 845 Audio, 33 bays réunit deux pièces enregistrées en studio à l’occasion d’une tournée japonaise de Tim Olive (où il réside désormais) et d’Alfredo Costa Monteiro. Le premier utilise une guitare électrique à une corde, et le second un dispositif d’objets électro-acoustiques. Le même dispositif peut-être que celui utilisé sur le dernier enregistrement du duo Cremaster (en compagnie de Ferran Fages), car les textures explorées tout au long de ces deux pièces y ressemblent étrangement. Tim Olive et ACM sculptent la matière sonore dans son vif, le métal transformé en électricité résonne dans l’espace neutre du studio, les cordes deviennent percussions industrielles, les imperfections électriques et électroniques se métamorphosent en matière sonore à composer et à structurer, en matière de sculpture. Des textures variées, qui peuvent être très fortes, calmes, contemplatives, granuleuses, lisses, planes, profondes, en dents de scie. Graduellement et progressivement, on passe d’une matière sonore à une autre sans rupture, on passe d’une intensité et d’une densité à une autre de manière linéaire. Il ne faut rien brusquer, mais le son est en mouvement constant selon une structure narrative qui lui est propre. Comme si le son racontait son histoire de manière autonome.
33 bays est un album aux textures abrasives souvent, un album sombre qui ne rigole pas et raconte une histoire crue. Mais c’est surtout la facilité avec laquelle on passe d’une texture à une autre, la manière lisse et respectueuse de passer d’une couleur à une autre, qui m’ont le plus émerveillé. Deux pièces hautes en reliefs, qui tiennent l’auditeur en haleine grâce à son aspect narratif tout en utilisant des sonorités extrêmement abstraites. Deux pièces où chaque idée est explorée le temps qu’il faut, où on prend le temps de s’immerger dans le son, de l’explorer en profondeur dans toute son intimité. A nouveau, ACM révèle son génie et sa sensibilité à sculpter la matière sonore, et cette collaboration avec Tim Olive ne fait qu’enrichir les possibilités sonores à explorer et la matière sonore à construire. On ne peut que souhaiter une suite à cette collaboration.
(je n'ai pas encore pris le temps de l'écouter, mais un premier enregistrement de ce duo avait déjà été publié en version digitale gratuite à cette adresse: http://zeromoon.com/releases/alfredo-costa-monteiro-tim-olive-a-theory-of-possible-utterance-zero125/ )
Julien Héraud, Improv sphère
The second release from the duo of Alfredo Costa Monteiro and Tim Olive, and the debut release of Tim Olive's Kobe-based, artist-run and not-for-profit "845 Audio" label. 33 Bays is a studio album of two extended live improvisations recorded in Kyoto during Olive and Monteiro's 2009 tour of Japan. Their previous release, the 2011 Zeromoon album A Theory Of Possible Utterance, presented studio work from Osaka and Barcelona recorded in 2007.
Tim Olive came to recognition as a member of the 90s band Nimrod, fusing experimental sound, free-jazz, musique concrete and other approaches to outsider music with a Boredoms-like rock ethic (Olive himself describes the band as minimal-prog-noise-rock). Since the band's demise Olive moved to Kobe, Japan, a base of operations for his unique approach to improvisation, which he performs live internationally in various formations with artists including Jason Kahn, Katsura Mouri, Bunsho Nisikawa, Julie Rousse, Jeffrey Allport, Haco, &c. He has releases on a significant number of creative improvisation labels including EM Records, Celo, Evolving Ear, Test Tone Music, and Zeromoon.
Portugese-born Alfredo Costa Monteiro has for decades followed a fruitful integration of sound, visual art and visual poetry. In the early 90s he moved to Barcelona to pursue contemporary art as a member of espai 22a, an independent collective; through the early 2000s he was also a member of IBA col.lectiu d'improvisació. His background makes him particularly well suited to works in electroacoustic improvisation, interpretation of graphic scores, sound poetry, and sound theatre. His collaborations with other sound artists is an impressive list of modern audio explorers represented on labels including Absinthe, Creative Sources, Potlatch, Another Timbre. His regular projects include Cremaster with Ferran Fages, i treni inerti with Ruth Barberán, Atolón with Ferran Fages and Ruth Barberán, Astero with Juan Matos Capote, 300 basses with Jonas Kocher and Luca Venitucci, and duos with Pascal Battus, Tim Olive and Michel Doneda.
For 33 Bays Olive uses a prepared tabletop guitar to create his sounds, applying bows, sticks, and other physical objects to the instrument while manipulating the results through electronic processing. Monteiro uses electroacoustic devices of his own devising to create unique, other-worldly sounds and atmospheres. The album begins with a static burst and deep rumbling bass as the two embark on a journey of dark, slow moving, and thoughtful improvisation. A rich and detailed soundscape emerges, at times like electronic snakes raking their way through a feedback forest, while other times the listener seems to be traveling through epic ductworks in a perplexing factory. The contrasts in textures and timbre carry the improvisations, bringing a diverse and dynamic journey to the attentive listener. Olive and Monteiro's compatibility is found in a shared, unhurried approach to their work, allowing dramatic sounds and interventions to develop with dark tension, released into unexpected moments of peaceful beauty and clarity. This early example of their collaboration clarifies why the pair have continued their conversation live and on record.
Phil Zampino, The Squid's Ear