Review: Tim Olive + Alfredo Costa Monteiro – 33 Bays

At many points throughout 33 Bays – the very first release on the 845 Audio label - I find myself reminded of a piece of Velcro being teased apart with agonising elongation. Both Tim Olive and Alfredo Costa Monteiro appear to derive a mutual pleasure in dramatizing moments of friction and contact – bringing materials together and then forcing them into intimate bouts of tension, during which movement and sound are squeezed out through a serious of guttural, metallic scrapes and thick bubbles of muffled feedback. There’s a sickening slow motion at work throughout much of the music – the pair drag out points of impact so that what could have been a brisk, painless clang becomes a dirty, prickly act of peeling away, placing focus on both the cautious coming together of materials and their equally uncomfortable separation.

Needless to say, it’s a very physical music. Even when a more explicitly synthetic sound source creeps in between the layers, its movement and texture renders it somewhat “life like”; groans of microphone feedback feel as though they’re being forced out of a lo-fi intercom under excruciating pressure, while little spills of static arrive in trickles and sprinkles rather than pure, free-flowing downpours. What brings the duo into such intimate company is their ability to gift illusionary weight and touch to the abstract – the listener is left with sounds that they can all but hold in their hands, watching their rusted and serrated surfaces grind against eachother at a speed that grants great importance to each tiny clunk and rattle.