Werner Dafeldecker - Parallel Darks (CD Room 40)
For 30 years Werner Dafeldecker has been creating music that has helped redefine what the double bass could, and should, be. I first heard him on ‘Hot Burrito #2’ with Eugene Chadbourne and Walter Malli. That album showcased not only his ability to play alongside two exceptional players, but also his ability to adapt whilst not losing sight of his aims. Since then, he has released at least 20 albums. His latest, ‘Parallel Darks’, is his most ambitious.
While creating ‘Parallel Darks’ Dafeldecker become fascinated with sounds that lie, and live, just outside of our usual field of hearing. The title seems to imply that there is a second area of darkness, running next to ours. Throughout its 35-minute duration ‘Parallel Darks’ is a densely layered affair. Field recordings, analogue synths and Dafeldecker’s extended instrumental techniques, the album creates murky soundscapes that contain elements of bewitching harmony and desolate drones. There is an element of abstraction to the album too that helps remove the sounds from our world. A recurring motif is what sounds like a stick being run along a radiator, but due to submerging this in sombre synths it becomes something far more sinister and challenging.
‘Parallel Darks’ is an interesting listen where Dafeldecker juxtaposes real world sounds with synthetic ones. This results in a slow-moving collision of two distinct worlds. While the music has enough going on to keep you from pressing stop but at times it verges on, well, the dull. Not a great deal happens throughout, not a massive problem, but what does happen isn’t that exciting. If understated drones and flickering chimes, then this is the album for you. If you like music with slightly more variation, then maybe avoid. The album set out to explore the sounds like lie at the periphery of our listening and consciousness. After listening to ‘Parallel Darks’ it might explain why they are left there. NR