For the latest installment in their FRKWYS series, RVNG Intl. have commissioned a collaboration between the psych-drone act Blues Control and Brian Eno-endorsed zitherist Laraaji, assisted by his friend Arji Cakouros. FRKWYS perennially coaxes intuitive results out of its participants, and this eighth edition is no different, apparently recorded in just one day. Each side keeps the other in check: Blues Control's rockier instincts rarely show through, and Laraaji's expansive zither solos are saved for the bonus tracks. There is no cautious middle ground here, though—the balance generates a head-stretchingly spacious, mystical atmosphere.
"Awakening Day" is underlined by a field recording that grows noticeably urban as the track progresses, subtly shifting from fuzzy ambience to a collation of squeaking breaks, sirens, horns and voices. Apart from the resonant pulse of a bass drum, the instrumentation is fittingly understated, a blend of bent, sliding strings, blocks of glassy vibraphone, and occasional zither. The arrangement's sleepy ease tapers, along with its urban undercurrent, into a pastoral conclusion, as the vibraphone dips below the sound of burbling water.
"Light Ships" begins with tremors of piano and zither, before Laraaji enters with a few elongated wordless groans. Their development into chattering laughter and higher cooing opens a more relaxed passage, alternating with forceful vocals over robust synthesizer drone. It's the aural equivalent of tensing every muscle in your body and then letting them all go. "City of Love" false-starts on a sluggish motorik rhythm and a serrated bass drone, dissolving into a watery, bell-laden movement for the remainder. String swells meet more of Laraaji's yearning moans, before resigning back into a meandering, placid backdrop. Finally, "Freeflow" buffs up the synth drone to complement its pervasive chants, channeling the previous tracks' instrumentation for a guttural, cathartic final movement.
FRKWYS Vol. 8 unfolds with a measured patience, often feeling like a much longer work than it actually is. It's fitting, then, that the bonus tracks, "Somebody Scream" and "Astral Jam," are extended jams, giving the collaborators even more room to breathe. The record is composed with a sense of freedom and fluidity that feels out-of-time, otherworldly and almost ancient—an intense accomplishment for both parties.
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Tracklist: Blues Control & Laraaji - FRKWYS Vol. 8 01. Awakening Day
02. Light Ships
03. City of Love
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