Alastair Galbraith and Matt de Gennaro

Alastair Galbraith and Matt de Gennaro

Long Wires in Dark Museums (Vol. 1 North Island)

Emperor Jones

Okay, I’ve read an interview explanation from the man himself about what exactly these “long” wires are, and I still don’t understand exactly how they make this incredible drone und drang. From what my feeble mind did gather, Gennaro and Galbraith string piano wires up throughout a museum and then “play” them with their hands covered in rosin. It’s “playing a room,” according to Galbraith, in the most literal sense. In total darkness, no less. Ask the folks at The Wire, if you want a detailed explanation, they live for it. At any rate, Galbraith and de Gennaro both play the fuck out of these “long wires” in the course of this record, a musical triptych recorded live at three different New Zealand museum spaces in 1999. The musical (and narrative) tone is in turns mournful and pastoral and all points in between. The sound puts me in the mind of John Cale, Terry Riley, and LaMonte Young’s drone experiments — but there is a sharp divergence in mood and purpose. Instead of academic experimentation, there is a palpable darkness and primitivism being thrust forth into the world, an invocation, if you will. If the performance space was really pitch black during these records, then you better believe some motherfuckers were damn near pissing their pants in terror. Listening to Long Wires, it seems so pure and final — like the incandescence of Joy Division, Kurosawa’s sepia feverdreams, the European endtimes of Nico, the caverns of Medusa, even the glint of an Arthurian sword, corrupted, lover’s leap — this is the void, listen to the void, let your nervous heartbeat provide the percussion. Are you ready to fall now? How about now?

Emperor Jones:

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