Rene Margraff, also known as Pillowdiver, and Michelle Hughes follow up their full length 'Wrapped In Plastic' released last year on cassette, with this self titled album on Home Normal. Asserting a narrower focus of component sounds than the former release, this album incorporates guitar - plucked, delayed, reverbed, and bowed - with drones of magnetically charged static into a wide emotional range, with stunning results.
As the searingly elegiac tone of 'Side By Side' fires into life, a tension in duos communication with each other becomes apparent. The swirling mass of drone, noise and treated synths both retreats from the guitar and in the next breath threatens to engulf it. Not to end on a low, the track finds resolution in the last few minutes of its nine minute story.
'Crash Your Plane, Walk Away' is tentatively beautiful; a droning single note backdrop warms and supports the otherwise solitary guitar strums which sound as if they have been recorded live, and we are in the room with the two artists. The dynamic range between each element is closed by hazy treatments, creating a flow similar to that of Tim Hecker's 'An Imaginary Country'. Margraff and Hughes conjure sounds that emanate from the speakers like light refracting through crystal, intimate yet cinematic.
In the last three tracks we're treated to further explorations between guitar, and droning synths and noise; the fantastical dream of 'Holiday on Air Force One', the early-Mogwai repeating chord strum and aching beauty of 'Shooting Blankets', before 'Been Trying to Meet You' swells into existence. Stirrings of majestic strings, giving way to overlapping guitar melodies, ending on a crescendo of noise.
Bearing witness to these two artists working together is something quite special because we are pulled into their world and allowed to become involved in the music. Romantic, absorbing, and electric - this is a masterfully enticing work, difficult not to be moved by.
Available on limited CD from Home Normal