Who knew flute and electronics could slay so hard? thenumber46’s “Bleach and Ammonia” is a dialogue between Suzanne Thorpe on flute and Philip White on electronics, together making a supreme din of squeaks, clicks, chattering, and submerged gurgles.
This tape displays a textural approach to sound. Sculptural, but not statuesque or remote, these songs all strive for and find an impressive amount of immediacy. Both players are in your face and in your ears, undeniably present as the sound ripples and festers. Sculptural like an electric fence.
The players seem to enjoy a tug of war between figure and ground: the flute’s long drawn metallic sheen supports White’s abrasive crackle, or conversely, there’s busy electronic static for breathy flute notes to scurry over. Elsewhere, figure and ground are less of a concern as electronic and acoustic sounds match tones (or nearly match tones, cracking open microtonalities that take flight in abstract formations).
Frequently, it’s hard to tell what generates the sound. Your speakers are rumbling and shredding, the music is cannibalizing itself, absorbing parts of itself back in. One minute a swarm of electrons, the next minute a swarm of flies.
On this tape Thorpe and White spend most of their time literally taking sound apart- electronics tearing fiercely, the flute a dancing scalpel. Then there are moments of reflection, for weaving tone into nets to bundle up the debris before dropping another elephant into quicksand. 9/10 -- Mike Pursley (28 July, 2010)