DunningWebsterUnderwood is a merging of two entities: the established duo of Graham Dunning and Colin Webster (turntable & effects and baritone sax) plus the “drone, doom tuba sound” of ORE, aka Sam Underwood.
On Bleed‘s lead track “Dustbleedblip”, Underwood’s tuba looms from a scurf of grey noise in dolorous foghorn blasts, while Webster’s trailing baritone sax breaches the auricular haze broad and bluff as an ocean liner’s prow. While Dunning’s stripped-down turntablism shrouds and mutes, the twinned brasses evoke elemental displacements and stress frictions. It’s a deeply, subtly atmospheric cut in a concise four minutes.
“Lavaeclustercore” is even shorter; less precisely evocative, more restlessly agitative; but “Motmiasmaballast” returns to a slow, steady exploitation of applied pressure, an improvisation structured on deep breath-blooms like monolithic, dry ice-shrouded Sunn O))) riffs, stretched and slowed.
Dunning uses, as the group’s own bio puts it very well: “a single turntable with dubplates of field recordings, dentistry tools and other objects to create crackling textures, tones and disjointed noise.” He’s well matched by Webster’s richly textural palette of “drawn tones, and raw, searing blasts”. For a fine example of their duo sound, check Invertebrata (Raw Tonk Records, 2014).
The gravitas of Underwood’s tuba gives the music extra heft. He cleaves to Webster and Dunning’s more frangible textures with breathy brass rasps, but also freights their more confrontational moves with the ballast potential of deep drone layers. He doesn’t overplay the ‘tuba doom’ card though. He’s bullish on “Grapefleckserpent”, matching Webster and Dunning’s abrasiveness with bellicose snorts, forcing a breather before locking horns titanically with Webster. When Dunning piles back in with a scree-slide avalanche of noise he makes it an arthouse Borbetomagus-style ruckus (imagine him depping for that group’s guitarist Donald Miller).
For all its rawness, Bleed is a varied set with plenty of nuance. “Tarnlavadust” is a highlight, brooding and ruminative until Underwood plays a doleful but tuneful theme. Dunning then lays on a welter of vinyl crackle, containing traces of human voices, and Webster recycles a few breaths as multiphonics in the style of Colin Stetson while Underwood parps jauntily along.
“Ghoulnimbusdart” switches things up even more, as echoic turntablism whips up an edgy, dubbed-out sound, and “Tinyskeindot” furthers the terrain change, away from drone, toward desiccated fine-grain audio and short-order fractiousness. “Tuskscabstems” and “Driftyoklang” then draw right back into muzzy and abrasive abstraction.
This is exemplary music of its type; detailed, analytical and richly euphonic; a deep soundstage of sonic imagery.
Graham Dunning turntable & effects; Colin Webster baritone saxophone; Sam Underwood tuba.
Buy Bleed direct from Adaadat.