Staring at photos of Sun Ra whilst listening to Ralph Cumbers' Bliss Abyss proves a perfect audio visual contrast/combination. I should be listening to the forthcoming release of Space Is The Place which accompany's the book but, hey, I'm crazy like that.
The opener, A Place For Nothing & Nothing In Its Place, shares one word with Ra, at least. Cumbers working the Eurorack modular system carves out the kind of spaces Ra could easily inhabit, with that sharp, intelligent feel for both 'ancient' Acid highs and a futuristic vision of what life on the purple moon, surrounded by spinning satellites, would sound like. Cumbers also plays trombone...in fact, he's a 'dubstep trombonist'...and if that isn't the funniest description of a modern music-maker, I want to know the competition. So there's even an improv connection.
How many end-of-year lists Bliss Abyss made I don't know, but probably not enough (guilty). November's a rotten release time if making those charts is desired; almost as bad as December, or January (who remembers back that far? Who remembers last month's releases?). The market isn't crowded, it's not even a quantifiable place; it's a boundless space in which releases drift like so many stars in the great expanding universe of sound saturation. How to get noticed? It isn't even enough to release a great album like this. Perhaps you've tried hollering into the online void and know what I mean.
Like his mate, Ekoplekz, Cumbers carries a torch for Dub without falling into the echo-by-numbers trap. I Brought You Back Treasures From The Void is a good example and on This Love Will Make You Levitate he brilliantly slides into Black Ark space drum territory about two-thirds of the way through. I think Lee Perry would be proud. Werner In Iquitos has a fantastic ruptured rhythm, the Roland TR606 drum machine's St Vitus dance throwing borderline out of control shapes but always staying true to a warped kind of methodology. At times I'm reminded of Conrad Schnitzler. How's that for a compliment?
We Can Elude Control
Magic & Dreams