Labfield – Fishforms ( Bottrop-Boy, 2008)

Listening to Fishforms, you’d never guess LabField (or Laboratory Field) is a mere duo, specifically Swedish guitarist David Stackenäs and Norwegian percussionist Ingar Zach. Abetted by electronic gear, the symbiotic sound manipulators resemble a much larger collective (like Mimeo, say) on the release’s three pieces. The range of sound is attributable to their working methods and sound sources: Zach’s percussion arsenal includes electronic sruti and saranghi boxes, while Stackenäs typically alters his sound so that any connection to a recognizable or conventional guitar is gone. The opener, “Gin,” could perhaps be taken as a manifesto for LabField’s sound. A glassy, hypnotic drone laden with bright percussive colour and tribal accents, the piece unfurls unhurriedly, content to let sounds breathe and accumulate naturally. Over the course of twenty-four minutes, swarms of sitar tones and tinkles slowly swell into an opaque and oceanic mass. “Rin,” by contrast, predominantly generates its meditative effect via multiple layers of acoustic guitars. At album’s end, glass bowing and treated guitar sounds occupy the front-line in the volcanic drone “Showa” which revisits the psychedelic sound-world of “Gin.” Fishforms offers quality dronescaping by two deft practitioners of the genre.

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