Niblock. Pointing out that Phill Niblock was born in tiny-town-Anderson is held back in my catalogue of tempting Indiana facts until a last ditch effort is required to convince a non-Hoosier that the we got root for some fantasma. Yeah, yeah. John Glenn or MJackson maybe, but Niblock?! Fug, yeah...
“Valence,” the first piece of the third CD on Niblock’s new Touch Three set, fills up the house with its steely center and gauzy undertow. All I can do is listen and be swallowed and saturated until its end. What else to do? Built from Julia Eckhardt’s repetitive viola notes, Niblock sewed each together to remove breathing spaces, leaving the natural decay of the tone, and the attack of the subsequent iteration of the same tone. Each note was represented by several repetitions, perhaps ten for each tone, of about 15 seconds duration each. Each piece uses a few tones.. If Richard Serra were to construct a Tilted Arc II off a corn-filed state route east of Anderson or anywhere really, Niblock’s work could be the vibrating essence.
Ulrich Krieger and Franz Hautziner, two of my favorite Euro-apoco-jazz players are sourced for a few pieces here. Ulrich's "Parker's Altered Mood, aka Owed to Bird" slightly alters itself as if you were cupping hands over ears. It feels weightless, unlike the rest of the set, almost as if the sheets of sound are incessantly falling from above. The earthy reed seems wholly celestial here. “Not Yet Titled” with Hautziner carries the most significant changes throughout its 22-minutes. Easily mistaken for an organ piece, a roaring low end appears three-fourths through and counters the high octave tone. As Niblock writes in the notes, One only hears the sound of the instrument... The microtones do the work.
Phill Niblock - Not Yet Titled (excerpt)