Ofer Pelz et Preston Beebe-Whim_First Impression

Whim cover art

A sentence along the lines of “Kohlenstoff Records Debut” can yield a lot of different results. Kohlenstoff is a particularly avant-garde label in Montreal that has released projects consisting of sounds that most wouldn’t be able to fit into any musical archetype.  Ida Toninato fits somewhere in the ambient free jazz territory whereas Émilie Payeur looks to make sense of distortion in her particularly harsh interpretation of sound art. On “Whim” the idiom of jazz is brought into question by Ofer Pelz and Preston Beebe.

Beebe and Pelz weave dystopian tales in their barren sound aesthetic with prepared piano and extended percussion techniques.  Melodies and chords do not sing out in specific ways, rather sounds emerge from the dissection of traditional instruments.  The pieces are extraordinary in texture.  Both musicians pull sound out of their instruments that click and crinkle in fascinating ways making for a collage of constantly surprising sounds.

On “Cracks” it is very interesting to see how the two voices interact.  Although the origin of each sound is hard to distinguish amongst the pool of texturally appealing noise, there seems to be an ever-present sense of back and forth.   As the piece develops, ideas evolve into bigger and bigger territories with two distinct beings supporting one another.  “Melting Glass” may serve as the most traditional attempt at free jazz.  A pressing piano motive repeats and repeats leaving Beebe with space to fill with his extended drum techniques.

Although the duo achieve a very specific sound aesthetic from the beginning of the record, they somehow find varying ways to re-interpret themselves making for a very encapsulating experience from beginning to end.  My first impression of this album was very positive and I look forward to further listening down the road.