Thursday, September 20, 2007

The Hafler Trio - Who Gave You The Ability To Envisage Perfection?

from Vital Weekly # 578:

Being pressed on clear vinyl and wrapped in a printed transparent vellum cover, the Hafler Trio's latest 7" is surrounded by a splendid aura even before you actually hear the music.
The image on the front cites Christian iconography with the motif of Judith holding the head of Holofernes, albeit in a great 1920s photographic soft porn version.
On the back there is a text that is printed on the inside of the sleeve and thus appears mirror-inverted on the outside, which nicely corresponds to the hermetic nature suggested by the text itself.
The music lends itself to (albeit rather helpless) poetic visual metaphors: distant, yet most sensuous drones, blurred as if heard through a fine acoustic haze, with sounds moving about like bizarre shadows, devoid of sharp contours.
One might wonder if the 7" format is the right choice for this kind of music, and in the case of this release the answer is a definite yes. There are some particularly fascinating moments on these tracks, most notably the final passage of side one and the trembling, slowly speaking female voice on the flipside.
The latter is unmistakably human and even sounds familiar in a way, but at the time it is of an highly unnatural, almost ghost-like character. The former is marked by a limited frequency range and a use of distortion which hint towards the aesthetics of gramophones or antique loudspeakers, without actually citing it, thus evoking a sense of nostalgia while keeping away from any obvious references.
It's the sheer fact that the 7" formats emphasizes the ephemeral nature of these passages that makes them even more precious - indeed, this release is a precious artifact throughout, exciting and unsettling in its beauty as well as in its exquisitely auratic appearance.
333 copies

Label: Plinkity Plonk
Records Cat. #: PLONK 21
Format: 7”
Release date: 2007

A1 - Timeless Does Not Mean Indestructible (04:37)
B1 - Seeing Is For Weightlifters (04:22)

The Hafler Trio
Plinkity Plonk Records

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