Ingar Zach

Floating Layer Cake
SOFA 571

A sequel and a solo, the two layers of this cake have vastly different contents, with the bonding elements electro-acoustic drones. Track one, The Lost Ones, features two Norwegians, percussionist Ingar Zach and guitarist Kim Myhr, French-Norwegian poet Caroline Bergvall and the Canadian string ensemble Quatuor Bozzini (QB), performing a version of Zach’s composition with the same formation that recently created the Pressing Clouds Passing Crowds CD. Self-explanatory, “Let the Snare Speak”, the second track is a stripped down version of a piece Zach has already performed with a percussion ensemble.

Throughout the first track the contrapuntal challenge lies in integrating Myhr’s folk-rock-like strumming, buzzing and patterning from Zach’s drums with vibrating speakers and electronics, harmonized sophistication from QB and eventually adding Bergvall’s vocal recitation of loss, longing and desolation. Percussion resonations mix with clipping electronics in such a way that organ-like tremolos are created, which makes the interpolation of Bergvall’s poem ending with “the borders were starting to close” upsetting as well as prescient, especially when the QB’s response is sul ponticello string shakes and rubs. Moving onwards, dramatic loops of buzzing static vie for space with vertical guitar strums which someone join with string quartet sweeps and gran casa rubs to replicate barrel organ timbres. Amplified guitar power pushes and drum splashes reach a climax from which only dissipates by disappearing.

Inflating his kit with three snare drums with vibrating speakers and pre-recorded electronics allows Zach’s solo spot on “Let the Snare Speak” resemble a group effort. In fact his singular drum interpretations sis so juiced with accelerating voltage charges that the upshot is nearly overpowering barely one-third through the track. The droning electronics, sometimes augmented with ring-modular-like echoes bring even more wave forms to the surface as if a plugged-in socket was being manipulated, As distinct oscillated colors are imagined, the finale narrows to a kazoo-like tone moderated with regulated gonging.

Besides being another performance by an ad-hoc ensemble that has previously proven its collective excellence, this Floating Layer Cake shows that there’s enough variety from the configuration of Zach alone to keep a creation constantly fascinating.

—Ken Waxman

Track Listing: 1. The Lost Ones 2. Let the Snare Speak

Personnel: Kim Myhr (12-string acoustic guitar and zither); Ingar Zach (Gran casa, percussion and snare drums with vibrating speakers and electronics); Quartuor Bozzini: Clemens Merkel and Stephanie Bozzini (violin); Alissa Cheung (viola); Isabella Bozzini (cello); Caroline Bergvall (voice)