Stephen O’Malley and Steve Noble – St Francis Duo (CD Bo’Weavil)


Stephen O’Malley and Steve Noble are no strangers to each other, making up half of Æthenor but for two nights they performed as St Francis Duo at Café Oto in 2010. For those of us who were unable to be present Bo’Weavil has released this CD/LP/Download so we can see what we missed.

Stephen O’Malley collaborates with a wide range of other musicians and has moved into territories far from his metal roots as his work with Pita as KTL, Sunn0))) with Greg Anderson,  Z’ev, Boris and others shows.

Steve Noble is perhaps best known for being part of the London improvising community and also has a fairly diverse range of other musicians he’s worked with from Rip Rig and Panic to Lol Coxhill and Derek Bailey.

The two nights are represented with two tracks for each of the performances. I don’t know whether or not these are the full sets . In terms of reference points there’s more than a nod here towards free jazz though with the heavy tones and deep notes of O’Malleys guitar work it goes slightly beyond that, perhaps heading towards, though not quite reaching the heaviness of, something like Fushitsusha or Stefan Jaworzyn’s Ascension project but not quite as full on as either of those.  There’s a lot more space, for instance, given here for the intricate drum work to shine through and the guitar work has a lot more light and shade  sometimes just being used to add ambient like textures to compliment the drums rather than work in opposition to them.

With their experiences of the first night to build on the second night of the performance seems to me to have been the most successful and the most cohesive, they work well together bouncing ideas of each other and anticipating more what the other is going to be doing.

Given the prolific nature of these two and the multiple projects they seem to have on the go at any one time it may be that this was just a one off but it’d be disappointing if they didn’t take this as a great starting point and carry on performing some shows as a duo. DB