bent spoon duo
out there in the sea





I’m in Vancouver where Volume 1: Out There In The Sea was recorded. Somehow, I thought I should be able to relate better… but I find little relation between the calm sea of the Horseshoe Bay today and the dicey recording.

There are some amazing sound gems hidden away in here. Buzzes and hums don’t take long to arise. The fine plucking of a violin followed by very distorted electronics and what seems almost like the first few bars of a dramatic sonata. There are so many sounds! I cannot explain how four hands did this.

The closest thing I can compare Out There At Sea to is some weird symphony by Alva Noto. The power of at least a quartet is all present. Spicy and jazzier elements lend themselves.

Track two, “Let There Be Musk,” is absolutely splendid. The recording is so overdriven and distorted. Drums are cut with static and innumerable squalls and drones from the wind instruments are placed almost imperceptibly in between the layers.

Kat Dornian


from Foxy Digitalis:

Taken from a live show in Vancouver last year, this is some excellently spontaneous double breath from Chris Dadge and Scott Munro of the Bent Spoon. Two sets are presented verbatim, rather brilliantly captured on cassette and sounding perfectly as visceral and energetic as I imagine they must have looked. A hodgepodge of instrumentation is engaged on spec and the result is a dizzying variety of tonal conjunction and delightful confusion; often a spree of drum mechanics will burst open a feedback blister and pick off the debris with shouts and cracks whilst the remnants bob and shuffle in shoals of excited colour. Some of the tone, the horn playing especially, has a distinctly playful, satirical edge and I I found myself being reminded less of similar improvising groups than the sounds of Beckett's radio plays, Cascando in particular, and also in harmony with the Beckett there's a willful obscurity of vocal representation so that one is compelled to engage with the emotional content of the music itself rather than investigate it as a surrogate "language" which could be analyzed by proxy. There's an understandable mid-point dip in the first, near half-hour track, and Bent Spoon use this admirably to re-group, change direction and approach some more diffuse forms. There's some especially theatrical horn and bass work, which whilst less frenetic than the opening gambit allows the drumming more room to coruscate and crackle with visible zeal, grating and filing the bass, zithers and squall into disparate particles. It ends on a sweet note with what sounds like a tiny zither being plucked and simultaneously tuned to various poses then dies out with some last minute keyboard silliness. 

The second, much smaller barrage does a summary of the main set with some more rumbling and maximal echo-box stress and gains a furious passion in under 3 minutes, the drumming at its incandescent best, peaking against the tape in a fashion reminiscent of the gorgeous superfluity on Coltrane's Olatunji concert recordings and barely able to keep up with its own aspirations. This is an excellent antidote to way less engaging, more academic forms of improvisation which often use very similar means to far less exciting ends - where Bent Spoon duo really excel is in their drive, sumptuously present on these tracks, an ineffable futurity that's audibly thrown ahead of them when they play which gives them not just speed of response but also a very living spontaneity and ebullient charm.

Joe Luna


from City Pages:

There's the very vague sense, here, of clattering stick-on-stick percussion, drum-kit fury, and steam-swollen electronics being boiled down, incrementally, to a focal point. Then you realize they're fucking with you, and that you're actually kind of okay with that.

Raymond Cummings