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North UK-based tape musician Michael Cutting makes his album debut with STILLS on Salford’s beloved imprint Ono. Relish- ing in the lo-fi, analogue textures offered by the pairing of fender rhodes piano and reel to reel tape machines, the album’s seven tracks act as vignettes; tempting with loop-induced isorhythms of warping, disintegrating harmonies. An extended re- working of Cutting’s live set for the same instruments, STILLS heavily retains the sense of live process, evoking precariously balanced loops between tape machines and thermoflasks, with the distinctive clicks and clunks of the reel to reels’ buttons and levers an intrinsic element to the sonic discourse.
Cutting’s use of melody — plaintive, jaunty, occasionally drifting off-key — perfectly suits the nature of his tape-based ‘instruments’, with their inherent flaws, uncertainties, and means of making sound [...] STILLS is full of such attractive contrasts of melody, harmony, and rhythm, made all the more compelling by the ways in which they incorporate the material nature of the machines and processes that produce them