Moon Ate the Dark, Moon Ate the Dark

Ben Beaumont-Thomas

By Ben Beaumont-Thomas

on 06.08.12 in Reviews

Welsh pianist Anne Rose Carter, who has previously worked with electronic musician Bartosz Dziadosz, here collaborates with Canadian producer Christopher Bailey on beautifully minimalist sound sculptures. He feeds her playing through a guitar amp and overlays rough noises and echoes to create an album that waxes and wanes with sad luminosity.

A softly magnetic record

Carter’s playing is centered on lulling arpeggios which are sustained to blurring point, while Bailey adds subtle, bleak production effects. Crackling subterranean ructions quietly reverberate under mournful piano, with occasional flurries of brighter sound bursting through: the seagull call in 10-minute opener “Explosions in a Four-Chambered Heart,” or the metallic static that opens “Capsules 11.” Bailey also captures the sounds of felt and wood inside the piano by mic-ing it up as Carter plays.

Their dynamic is similar to Ryuichi Sakamoto and his collaborations with Alva Noto, Christian Fennesz and Christopher Willits, but while Sakamoto’s playing is sparse and elegant, Carter’s is thick and fraught. The music is most beautiful when Carter hones in on pure frequency, as she does on “She / Swimming,” where a cluster of notes are combined with the sustain pedal to create a wave, before peeling off in an ethereal coda. Her playing veers between beauty and dischord, underlined by Bailey’s brooding production. A softly magnetic record.