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Monday, April 11, 2022

Lori Goldston & Stefan Christoff - Punk Equinox (Dasa Tapes, 2022)

By Keith Prosk

Lori Goldston and Stefan Christoff play eight improvisations with cello and Hammond organ on the 41’ Punk Equinox.

This is the first time the two have released a recording together but each are accustomed to duo settings. Goldston recently released Oakland moments: cello, voice, reuniting (rejoicing) with Torben Ulrich (voice, text), Very Old Songs with Jordan O’Jordan (voice, harmonium), and Feral Angel with Dylan Carlson (electric guitar). The latter collaborator is perhaps most associated with the drone doom band Earth, for which Goldston is sometimes cellist, which has ties to Nirvana, for which Goldston was also sometimes cellist. Christoff recently released La Lumière Du Soleil Dans Un Semi Sous​-​sol with Joseph Sannicandro (recordings).

Hear birds throughout the recording, though while I imagine weather nice enough to have so much song or open a window distills into the sound I don’t hear the players communicating with these contingencies. Some tracks are brief enough to feel like vignettes with one theme explored per. Organ often keeps the time with a buoyant beeping key, sometimes a little plucky like harpsichord. And simultaneously it creates a substrate of harmony layering chords, twinkling celestial, bright and startling, that change so slow their drones hum, pulse, and throb to fold back into the beeping rhythm. Cello adds airy melodies atop this base. Pizzicato with Barresque lyricism, errant, bittersweet, wandering. Crosscutting rough bowing frictional like hurdy gurdy or viola da gamba for rustic mood. Lines with the gravity of melancholy if they didn’t have the celerity of a whirling dance. It is mellifluous. And perhaps more than communicating through texture, speed, or volume they operate in complementary tonal spaces to make it mellifluous. Two organ solos and a cello solo explore the fringes they might go without heed for the other, the seismic thrum of organ subharmonics, or seemingly opening the wood of the cello, a sonorous fanning full of harmonics for self-accompaniment in the absence of another.