At times maddening with multiple intensities of chaotic scraping and beating, others of airy whimsy, â€śBarkâ€ť by the international improvisation quartet Sult is an engaging listen of extended techniques on traditional instruments.
Sult is Tony Dryer and Guro Skumsnes Moe on contrabass, Jacob Felix Heule plays percussion and Havard Skaset performs acoustic guitar.
The pieces here are acoustic performances informed by noise, electro-acoustic improv and drone. The results are highly original however, due to the eclectic decisions made by the members. There are many different techniques and strategies employed by each member on their respected instruments. At times the contrabasses are played percussively on the body while cymbals are bowed. This mixture of technique is pervasive throughout the performances and is always wonderfully applied.
There is a unique form of communication among the players of which they have been developing since 2008. Dryer and Heule live in San Francisco and Skaset and Moe are from Norway, yet their ability to predict and lead one another suggests they live in the same house. It is impressive that they are able to maintain and build this relationship despite their physical distance from each other.
Listening to â€śBarkâ€ť is not as challenging in the tonal pallet as the referenced influence of noise and electro-acoustic as all the sounds provided are acoustic and stay within a comfortable volume in relationship to the group. Each sound, be it loud or quiet is treated with such delicacy and precision that multiple listens reveal ever expanding textures and gestures.Â This is not to say that the music is not richly complex with challenging sounds and compositional tactics, simply that within the support complexity the group manages and maintains and welcome listening experience.