Sarah Peebles: Composer/Performer

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Top 5 Cds-improvised music of 2004, Exclaim!:

“A mesmerising double-dics retrospective...from well beyond the brink of comfort into strangely soothing corridors where double-locked doors unexpectedly open and lure the listener over foreboding threshholds.”


(DMG, New York City)

“Gathering (Spool 305/Field 5) CD-I features the music of Nilan Pereraon prepared electric guitar & effects and Sarah Peebles on laptop & sho (mouth organ), recorded at various locations live and in the studio. CD-features the same duo plus John Butcher on soprano & tenor saxes with enhanced video & calligraphy performance by Chung Gong. UK sax explorer John Butcher seems to be everywhere, playing with a wide variety of fine improvisers from different scenes, from Derek Bailey to Chris Burn to Georg Grawe to Phil Durrant to Phil Minton, as well as his great solo sax performances.

We know of electronics composer and musician Sarah Peebles from the few releases she has ('Suspended in Amber' & 'Insect Groove'), but weren't that familiar with guitarist Nilan Perera before this. Nilan and Sarah set the scene with intricate, eerie and subtle textures, insect-like electronics and suspenseful electric guitar drones shimmer and slowly mutate. It sounds as if Sarah has sampled some metallic percussion as well as other more mysterious sounds. Sarah's mesmerizing / unnerving insect sounds have a way of getting under one's skin, perhaps she should be doing soundtrack work for some science fiction films. On CD-II, John Butcher's chattering sax fits perfectly weaving notes around the duo's darkly enchanting pulsations. The DVD captures the duo playing live outside with Nilan bowing his guitar-on-lap as Sarah also creates her own electronic soundscapes on her computer.

Chung Gong works on a few larges canvases doing calligraphy, painting with a large brush made from (human?) hair. It is odd to see these folks creating these somber, yet strange, alien sonic sounds outdoors, barefoot with insects and frogs around them, yet it works quite well. The video portion is about 10 minutes, just long enough to entice us with these unique images. The trio seems to stretch out time as the sounds often drift through space and the pace feels like it has been slowed down. The final piece has some fine noisy guitar, Evan Parker-like tenor sax waves and eerie electronics surrounding. A perfect place to bring our journey to an appropriate close. - BLG

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