Review: Cyril Bondi + Toma Gouband – Hi No Tori

Cyril Bondi + Toma Gouband - Hi no ToriDistant earthquake tremors. Inadequately stacked ceramic plates quiver against eachother. Steel pans shiver in a cupboard to my right. There is silence – thick and deceptive, a sinister temporal calm – before the rumbling begins again. Bigger this time, more urgent. Hi No Tori is a nervous stirring. Drummer limbs are puppeteered by immense low frequencies, channelling the subterranean conversations of tectonic plates that rub together miles beneath. What manifest as tiny tom rolls and strange rotary grinds are the early signs of the earth tearing apart; molecules of crust pulling away from eachother until fractures become crevices, become chasms, become voids.

The 42-minute piece is entirely percussive: miniature impacts, vivid metallic chimes, resonances of sagging skins. Bondi and Gouband start by exploring what happens when the same action is placed on scuttling rapid fire, compressing dozens of instrument attacks into a singular ripping and rumbling, creating semi-fluid, motion capture cascades out of semi-automatic exposures. Elsewhere, I can hear their narrowed eyes of concentration as a slack tom drum ripples beneath a muffled beater, splicing into a secret chorus of tones and overtones. Even amidst the imminence of natural disaster the duo’s concentration is dense and unwavering, announcing itself through those intermittent hisses of nasal breath.