Olive’s last outing with Bunsho Nisikawa, the intriguingly-titled Supernatural Hot Rug And Not Used, was mysterious and compelling; Eagle Keys is even better. It’s superbly paced, carefully constructed and above all sounds terrific. Check it out.
(Dan Warburton, Paris Transatlantic)
Since I last spewed about Tim Olive, he’s put together the great Supernatural Hot Rug And Not Used (and a great self-titled album) with Nishikawa Bunsho, which I implore you to seek out if you haven’t. This is his new project, and it’s the standard kind of high-level, attentive improv that Olive has trademarked…Olive knows how to coax smart shit out of his equipment and his colleagues, and Eagle Keys is perhaps the best example of one of his most unique talents – the ability to mix and match sounds so that nothing ever sticks around too long, but no contrivances or artificial shifts ever emerge.
(Marc Masters, Noiseweek)
Everything (Tim Olive) does seems to end up suggesting some real steps forward for the improvisation genre, rich in possibilities and exploratory notions. Regardless of who he plays with, he always offers useful platforms for ideas to develop.
(Ed Pinsent, The Sound Projector)
This CD is divided into two tracks, titled simply parts One and Two. The first, and longest at 34 minutes, opens with quiet cracklings and droning strings, interrupted by sporadic gurgling and scraping sounds. Factory-like buzzings and the sounds of machines toiling at some unknown purpose come and go. The duo conjure a mysterious place filled with noises that, while prickly, aren’t coldly artificial nor forbiddingly harsh. These are small sounds, made audible.
Even knowing what I do of the artists, it’s hazardous to guess at who’s doing what. But I would guess that Meirino’s more often than not providing the more solid acoustics, while Olive throws in the chattering squeaks and rattles. While the combinations may often feel haphazard, there are more than enough synchronous moments that make it clear how well the two are listening to each other.
It’s not all just freestyle scrape and drone, either. Towards the end of the first part, there’s a combination of distorted scree and glacial tones that’s like a weird mix of Organum and Skullflower, both peaceful and head-slapping. From there, it builds slow but inexorably toward a fascinating conclusion that’s equal parts Merzbow and AMM, with plucked string sounds cleanly shining through a dense wall of noise.
The second part follows a similar modus operandi; while it’s not immediately clear why it’s divided from the first part, it is a fairly self-contained piece with a particular personality. In any case, it offers another 15 minutes of work, marred only by a preponderance of high-pitched tones that I found a bit annoying and difficult to listen to (though I’ll admit to being particularly susceptible to high frequencies).
Adorned with a sleeve featuring nice work by Canadian artist Marc Bell, Eagle Keys offers a fine collaboration that takes good advantage of the differing audio palettes of Meirino and Olive, as well as their abilities to listen and interact.
(Mason Jones, Dusted Magazine)