First published in the Guardian on 17 November, 2016
Laurence Crane: Sound of Horse
Laurence Crane builds graceful, cheeky, elusive music out of ordinary things. Plain triads float across a long drone in the opener of this disc, John White in Berlin. The triads are bright, the drone is a bit murky. In the piece Events, soprano Ditte Marie Braein reads out various lists from The Guardian. Old Life Was Rubbish pivots on just two chords like a line-drawing of a wonky seesaw. There are allusions all over the place but Crane’s trick is to make them fleeting and decontextualised so that everything sounds new and not new. Electric guitars, electric organs, bass clarinets and vibraphones give these small-ensemble pieces a warbled vintage pop sound — bleached-out surf rock left in the sun a few decades then turned to the gentle absurd. The title piece is also the most recent of the collection (2009) and the most gleefully wayward; Norwegian group Asamisimasa plays it all with exactly the right balance of tenderness and deadpan anarchic humour.