Best Music Spotlight

Bow – Green Mountains Walk

Photograph of the blog post author, Jonathan Robinson

Jonathan Robinson

22.6.2020

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Combining jazz composition with harsh noise for an aggressive yet musical sonic wall, Green Mountains Walk state no hesitancy on this track from their debut album.

Bow

From the second the track starts distorted squeals fill the mix. Feedback loops in broken circuitry form bastions of aggressive tonality. As each new wave of sound arises and crumbles, we hear somewhat peaceful chordal work on a piano buried in the mix. 

Focussing on this particular element it is possible to pick out embellished cadences and structured rhythmic devices. Though thoroughly submerged in the debris of the noise wall, the moments of clarity breaking through the mi provide an uncommon musicality to the work. Syncopated modal runs litter the higher frequencies while more heavy-handed harmonic content is rhythmically pressed into the bass end. A persistent yet appropriate use of dissonance recalls Thelonious Monk phrases, particularly in the jumping hits of fractal implications. In looser, more melodically explorative sections, the rhythmic bass end is simplified and leaves space for Ornette Coleman-esque runs that suggest atonalism and serialism in equal parts, before returning to the main motif in response to the rising harmonic content.

On top of this more traditional compositional presence is the relentless and ever-changing noise instrumentation. The squeals and wails of manipulated circuity provide unpredictable frequencies with surprising dynamic range amidst the throes of it all. Concealed within this haze of sound is a returning strained percussive tonality that surfaces sporadically to anchor the work. This feels almost like a tap on the shoulder to remind the listener where we are in the piece, without alleviating its unyielding atmosphere of burning machinery.

The dichotomy of the two motifs in this work successfully blur the line between traditional composition and experimental sonic work. Notably, the moments of respite found in recognition of more traditionally musical phrases grant the work a unique accessibility amongst the masses of noise tracks out there. This functions as a gateway, or a halfway point for those not accustomed to longer periods of intense, ever-present sound.A genuine love of both worlds of composition is translated in the performance, and though it may not have an immediately approachable aesthetic for all listeners, it is one that comes highly recommended by those familiar and open to work not reliant on convention.

  • Overall rating: 9/10
  • Pairs well with: Mind Control Genocide Organ

About Green Mountains Walk

An experimental improvisational du from North West England. Green Mountains Walk formed to translate their experiences and works across their careers into one unbound project. Performing and creating their works in front of live audiences, the concept seeks to maintain that live authenticity in its studio format, and to connect with listeners and a deeper level than a superficial listen may offer.

Stream ‘Bow’:

Follow Green Mountains Walk on:

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