**300 copies** Traditional Noise, the final instalment in Holidays’ latest batch, is a collaboration between two up and coming stars of experimental music - Mette Rassmussen and Pak Yan Lau - and possibly the most exciting of them all, offering glimpses of probable futures of improvisation across its brilliant two sides.
Mette Rasmussen is a Danish saxophone player based in Trondheim, Norway, who first gained attention as a member of Trio Riot, before increasingly branching out as solo artist, working with the likes of Alan Silva, Chris Corsano, Fire!, Tashi Dorji, Ken Vandermark, Zeena Parkins, Ryan Sawyer, and numerous others. Drawing from a wide range of influences, spanning freejazz to textural soundwork, Rasmussen’s practice delves into the exploration of the natural rawness of her instrument and its capacity for expression, with and without preparations.
Based in Brussels, we had the good fortune of shining some light on Pak Yan Lau’s brilliant LP as a band leader, Bakunawa, earlier this year, which left us waiting on bated breath for more. Working across numerous idioms, she is a sound artist, improviser, musician, and composer, who first appeared within project like Going - a quartette with Giovanni Di Domenico, João Lobo, and Mathieu Calleja, Eggstream - a trio with Di Domenico and Norberto Lobo, and the large-scale ensemble Dream & Drone Orchestra. Over the last decade, she has developed her own singular sonic universe, blending acoustic, electro-acoustic and electronic approaches and working both as a vocalist, as well as with prepared pianos, toy pianos, synths, electronics and various sound objects across a number of solo efforts, in addition to live and recorded collaborations with Chris Corsano, Akira Sakata, Tatsuhisa Yamamoto, Tetuzi Akiyama, Rie Nakajima, Toshimaru Nakamura, Susana Santos Silva, Lionel Malric, Darin Gray, and numerous others.
Recorded in Antwerp during late 2017, Traditional Noise features Rasmussen on alto sax, preparations, objects, voice, and Lau on toy pianos, synth, sampler, modified wok, typatune, and electronics, locked in an evolving, conversant sound expanse that pointedly avoids the explicitly musical as the two artists bristle against each other, delivering textural and tonal interventions defined by careful restrain and space.
Truly beautiful in the ugliest, most raw and delicate kind of way, Mette Rassmussen and Pak Yan Lau’s Traditional Noise is easily one of the most singular and exciting recordings of contemporary improvisation we’ve encountered this year. It’s killer and consuming from start to finish, revealing a partnership by two of the most exciting artists currently on the scene that we hope we haven’t heard the last from. Issued by Holidays on vinyl in a limited edition of 300 copies, it’s impossible to recommend enough.
Mette Rasmussen: alto sax, preparations, objects, voice
Pak Yan Lau: toy pianos, synth, sampler, modified wok, typatune, electronics
Recorded by Koen Vandenhoudt at SiM Studio, Antwerp, December 2017
Mixed and mastered by Lasse Marhaug, 2019
Cover drawing by Virginia Genta