Gabriel Saloman presents the second volume in his Movement Building trilogy, continuing the release of original compositions commissioned for contemporary dance works. Following the enthusiastically received first installment -- Vol. 1's album-length The Disciplined Body (SHELTER 051LP, 2014) -- Saloman offers up five tracks that combine shimmering bowed guitars and reverberant acoustic percussion into a meditative and powerful break from anything he's produced before. Mobilizing the frequencies of contemporary electronic music (fine-tuned to speaker-rattling effect by Helmut Erler at Berlin's Dubplates & Mastering), Movement Building Vol. 2 abandons the conventional instrumentation- and genre-motifs embraced by many of Saloman's peers in favor of a unique hybrid of avant-drone, psych-rock, and Japanese traditional music. In 2013 Saloman was commissioned by the Vancouver, Canada-based dance company 605 Collective to collaborate on the multimedia dance performance The Sensationalists (2015). An early inspiration for both The Sensationalists and the music collected in Movement Building Vol. 2 was Yasunari Kawabata's 1956 novel Snow Country; its tragic love affair became a thematic and contextual source for early phases of the project, and much of the music on this album is a result. Borrowing compositionally and tonally from Taiko drums and Gagaku (an ancient drone-based imperial court music), Saloman reproduced sounds originating in traditional Japanese drums, wind, and string instruments almost completely on guitar, ride cymbals, and snare drum. This influence is most explicit in the undulating rhythms that open the first side of Vol. 2 ("Contained Battle/Ascend") and the layered escalation of "Gagaku," a methodical combination of rhythm and drone that climbs to a peak of psych-tinged burning guitar lines. Concluding the album is a version of Miles Davis's classic ballad, "My Funny Valentine," an uncanny combination of original percussion and guitar, collaged together with what may be a live recording of Davis's "second great quintet" taken from YouTube, processed, and time-stretched on tape. Just as Saloman's previous output has combined cinematic atmospheres with guitar-driven climaxes that easily appeal to fans of neo-classical experimentalism and post-rock-informed drone, this record opens new compositional territory while maintaining a recognizable melancholy ambience. Exposure to the monolithic bass and open spaces of dub-influenced EDM has led Saloman in a different direction than many of his peers (including artists such as Cut Hands, Vatican Shadow, and former Yellow Swans bandmate Pete Swanson) and toward something that moves bodies and triggers their nerve endings, but with no concession to the dancefloor.
01. Contained Battle/Ascend 02:00
02. Ear Piercer 02:00
03. Mountain Music 02:00
04. Gagaku 02:00
05. My Funny Valentine