WILL GUTHRIE

* 'Body and limbs still look to light' - CD - (cathnor02), 2006 - Nantes

If distortion and overload are the grit that leads to the pearl in the oyster, Will Guthrie's incisive editing hand offers a resolute knife-hold to separate the gem from its clammy casing. Anyone who's seen Guthrie live in recent times would be aware of how brutal his performances can be, maxing the volume while unleashing rough, unruly swarms of detourned electronics and manhandled percussion that move the air in the room. More interested in grain than drone, privileging volume and physicality over undemonstrative reductionism, Guthrie edits and arranges for maximum impact. He's interested in dirtied sound, dropping chunks of asphalt-texture feedback through Body and Limbs' opening tracks "Taken" and "Peak", the latter of which opens with the pedalling of the dial of a radio, the broadcasts swathed with static. Towards the end of the disc's final piece "Withdrawal", Guthrie scours away layers of sediment, allowing a recording of raspy breathing to briefly assume centre stage. This gesture personalises the tension in proceedings: though it sounds meticulously planned and obsessively edited, Guthrie hasn't sucked the lifeblood out of these three compositions, which lends them an exploratory, sometimes anxious air. Indeed, as has been noted elsewhere, its searching nature initially comes as a surprise after the brutish swagger of 2005's musique concrete masterpiece Spear, released as a limited CD-R on Guthrie's own Antboy Music label. I can't help but think of Body and Limbs as content to Spear's form - the latter as the decisive formal shift that allowed for the exploration and elaboration of the former.

Jon Dale - Paris Transatlantic