Review: RedRails – S/T

There is something blacker and more jagged waiting to emerge from within the early string movements of Redrails. A jew’s harp boings between percussive thumps, together coaxing a violin into gorgeous swoops and slithers; almost like watching a snake charmer display silhouetted gloomily against a cave wall, with an eerie assortment of percussive noise skittering on all sides. Gradually, the presence of the electronic solidifies – announcing its entry by sending a sample of violin into a chilling broken loop on “Avant La Guerre” – as those earthly string tones find their graceful forms twisted and scattered among the album’s use of resampling and laptop rhythm generation. What initially seems to source its roots in more traditional classical techniques finds itself becoming increasingly corrupted by its electronic accompaniment, writhing into dissonant freeform as the bubbling, stuttering beats establish a firm grasp.

And where the likes of “Tea Time” offer a brief reprisal of the album’s more jovial moods (hopping lightly over a rhythm of pizzicato loops and soft percussive clacks), Redrails is otherwise hereon unsettled. “Strike” pings upward, downward, backward and sideward – with squirts and scrapes of violin that tug the stereo image off balance – while “Scotch” belches in low processed tones over a bed of minimal techno. The closing 11 minutes offer something entirely different altogether, with spoken samples (played both forward and in reverse) chatter and glitch either side of a gorgeously mournful bout of string improvisation. All the while, violinist Baltazar Montanaro-Nagy renders his instrument a most worthy subject for Serge Ortega and Tadahiko Yokogawa’s electronic juxtaposition and sound tampering, twisting into shapes that both accommodate and struggle away from the intrusion.