This is a remastered re-release of a recording originally issued on Confront in 2007. Harpist Rhodri Davies' musical explorations have covered a very wide range of approaches, from the quiet free improv work with ensembles like IST and Common Objects to complex drone-oriented music (including his collaborations with Éliane Radigue) to his work in more song form music as with Richard Dawson. This piece, a single 36-minute track from material originally recorded in 2004 and reworked in 2006, could be said to fall into that middle category, steady state music generated from the use of EBows and electronics.
One can easily hear how conducive and natural the path for Davies would be from this area of music to Radigue's. In an interview with Sound American, Davies mentions that Over Shadows was a culmination of his research into the EBow and sustained sounds, an area that Radigue had just begun considering with regard to writing for acoustic instruments. The notion of deeply investigating a "limited" sonic area is certainly one of the central aspects of Radigue's music of the past two decades; Davies isn't quite at such a severe point here, but he's nearing it. Over Shadows spends its first couple of minutes in a single, pulsating space, a drone with three or four layers at least, the tone held steady but the sound waves throbbing subtly, before a high, ringing tone emerges in the foreground, begins to wobble then recedes, the music settling back into the original hum. This soft ebb and flow continues throughout the piece evoking a kind of fluid image, not with the regularity of tides, but more a pond stirred by a breeze, lapping gently at a silty shore, the silt barely covering hidden detritus. The drone remains constant, thickening and attenuating, the intensity rising and falling, always revealing an astonishing amount of timbral detail and variations within apparently narrow confines. Davies' attentiveness, patience and fine ear for texture and harmony are in abundant evidence. Whether heard as a piece in a long and rewarding musical career, as a directional marker toward one path Davies was to deeply explore, or simply as a fascinating, often gorgeous slab of sound, Over Shadows is well worth considering.
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