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Onemind Presents Onemind

Loren Connors and Alan Licht – The Blue Hour [LP]

OTOROKU

  • £23.38

Format: LP
Catalogue No.: ROKU037LP
Barcode: 0718603188147
Release Date: 31 May 2024
Genre: Alternative / Experimental

Celebrating thirty years of collaboration, Loren Connors and Alan Licht performed for two nights at OTO on May 5 and 6th, 2023. The shows celebrated a new release titled “At The Top of the Stairs”; a document of the pair's reunion in 2018 after a period of 8 years not playing together. It’s a dark, swirling two-sided spectral noir session, put out by the duo’s home label, Family Vineyard, and we expected a similar kind of atonal abyss to appear at the OTO residency. On the second night however, with the stage lit in blue, Connors took up a seat on the piano stool whilst Licht picked up the guitar. What followed was the duo’s first ever set with Connors on piano - one of only a few times Connors has played piano live at all - here captured and issued as The Blue Hour. Its spacious warmth came as a total surprise live, but makes complete sense for a duo whose dedicated expressionism takes inspiration from a vast spectrum of emotion. Both opening with single notes to start, it doesn't take long before a surface rises and begins to shimmer between the pair. A run up the keys, the drop of a feedback layer on a sustained and bent note. When the two begin to exchange notes in tandem, brief touches of melody and chord hover and the hush of the room is palpapale. After a while, Connors picks up the guitar, stands it in his lap and sweeps a wash of colour across Licht’s melody. Sharp, glassy edges begin to form, open strings and barred frets darkening the space. When his two pedals begin to merge, Licht finds a dramatic organ-like feedback and it’s hard not to imagine Rothko’s Chapel, its varying shades of blue black ascending and descending in the room. When Connors goes back to the piano for the second side, the pair quickly lock into a refrain and light pours in. It’s a kind of sound that Licht says reminds him of what he and Connors would do when the duo first started playing together 30 years ago. It’s certainly more melodic than some of their more recent shows, and the atonal shards of At The Top of the Stairs seem to totally dissolve. What is always remarkable about Licht is that his enormous frame of reference doesn't seem to weigh him down, and instead here he is able to delicately place fractures of a Jackson C Frank song (“Just Like Anything”,) amongst the vast sea of Connors’ blues. Perhaps it's the pleasure of playing two nights in a row together, or the nature of Connor’s piano playing combined with Licht’s careful listening, but the improvisation on The Blue Hour feels remarkably calm and unafraid. There’s nothing to prove and no agenda except the joy of sounding colour together. Totally beautiful.

Track list: 1. Part I 2. Part II

More From This Artist: Alan Licht Loren Connors

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