Like dust settling on the floor, disrupted by unruly primitive machines, the latest release from Jamie Hutchings takes shape and begins to gel and morph amid the clatter and klang of all manner of percussion. It’s never clear whether elements of a real drum kit have been sacrificed in the process of making this mostly instrumental album. A floor tom could be an empty container for a household cleaning product, cymbals might be kitchen utensils. Familiar sounds used in an abstract context makes for a mysterious and sometimes disorientating listen.
If you’re a fan of the expressive, avant garde perimeter of Hutchings’ current band Infinity Broke or the experimental extremes of the noise and field recording elements that dot the sonic landscape of Bluebottle Kiss, you’ll already have a breadcrumb trail leading you into Making Water. If not, approach with an open mind.
‘In the Middle of a Field; a Bathtub’ is the longest piece here and one of the more traditional sounding compositions. Still, it’s wooziness and drunken shimmer are shaped by detuned/untuned guitars, rhythms that stutter, skip and drone and an ungainly choir that briefly wanders into view.
‘Never Before’ will challenge orthodox guitar-minded listeners with it’s acoustic wrangling. It sounds like the instrument is fighting back, strings thrashing and resisting and wrestling to break the confines of their tension and the centuries old musical forms they’ve been restricted to.
‘Secret Girl’s World’ is the closet Hutchings comes to approaching the sound of Infinity Broke. The industrial regimentation of the percussion, which leans into Krautrock, is accompanied by disembodied voices and more of the frantic, barely controlled acoustic chaos. ‘Night Soil’ is a death march, refracting a militancy and tribalism before the spirits are freed and a ghostly aura drifts skyward.
‘The Magic Wound’ explores a free jazz aesthetic, with Jochen Gutsch’s trumpet leading the dissonant charge amid the scattered cohesiveness of a myriad of tones and textures. ‘Body Clock’ takes a similar approach but it allows more space and resonance into the music, recalling The Necks and their organic, slow-build construction.
‘Call Mother’ is a comparative balm with its Mark Hollis-like post-rock pitter patter and melodic chemtrails. Field recordings expand the track’s horizons, integrating Hutchings’ disruptive compositions with nature’s sweet chaos. It ends the album on a contemplative note, the calm after the storm. Musical ghosts exorcised, if only briefly.