Zane Trow * Will Gardner

Zane Trow

ZANE TROW – QUIRE   Also on Spotify

Zane Trow has been professionally involved in the contemporary live and sound arts since the mid-70s. Most of his work was created for various performances, film, visual arts, and ‘large scale sound installations/performance projects’ with people like David Toop, Richard Barrett, and Scanner.

His extensive experience is only partly reflected in his discography, however: his 2004 debut For Those Who Hear Actual Voices was the only physical (CD-)release, the six other titles (such as Why Echoes, 2021, and Envoûteuse Haleine, 2023) were download-only releases. And so is his new release, also on Room40: Quire.

I had to look the meaning of that title, and found that it can refer to ‘a pamphlet of four pages folded to make eight leaves (16 pages): the ordinary unit of construction for early manuscripts and books’, but also to ‘choir’. Not sure what the connection really is, but the fact that Quire has eight tracks will probably be no coincidence.

With the help of Stephen Spencer on saxophone and treatments, Zane Trow presents an attractive and varied atmospheric collection of works that he introduces with these words:
‘The simplest of these works have taken the most cajoling towards their intended form … dust in the breeze of a sonic moment … others are a textual gesture toward peculiar notions of sound as memory and evocation’.



There’s a very sad background story behind this debut album of Will Gardner: it is based on his experience of caring for his father through the final stages of his Parkinson’s Dementia.
“It is both an aural imagining of his dementia experience (its delusions, paranoias, and memory slippages), whilst also being a personal story about grieving for a parent, and what it means to grieve for someone who is still alive.”

Gardner used fragments of his father’s diaries as an inspirational source, to derive the rhythms and melodies for this album. After removing the text, ‘the ‘textual’ meaning became lost, but an imprint of it remained, in traces, within the music.’

Remains is a touching album, but not as dark and confronting as The Caretaker’s Everywhere At The End Of Time series which dealt with the same team. In alternating between Will’s own perspective and the imagined perspective of his father:
“Whilst trying to capture this dark and incoherent internal world that my Dad was experiencing, I noticed that I kept returning, somewhat counter-intuitively, to quite delicate, soft sounds. I realized that these sounds were like seeing my own reflection emerge within the work – my own sense of concern for what he was going through and my own grief for what was being lost day by day.”

Remains is Gardner‘s debut album, taking his experience as orchestrator and arranger (for Alt-J, for example) to a new and different level. The album is released in ‘bone white’ vinyl on the Castles In Space label.

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