NELSON FOLTZ / TOM LYNN Still Life Volume Three (Stillsounds) • Nelson Foltz and Tom Lynn are studio musicians who have, we are told, “worked on more song-oriented projects.” On the Still Life series, of which this is the third volume, it seems they not only wanted to get away from song, but also from electronics. This by rights ought to disqualify Foltz and Lynn from entry to e/i for flagrant contravention of its strictly electronic dress code, but somehow they manage to make it in by dint of their music’s spirit. If not “electronic”, it’s certainly based on an ethic of conventional instruments unconventionally instrumentalized, rendering them “otherwise”. Foltz has apparently worked with S. Dan, A. Franklin, and R. Flack, to invoke but three signifiers of artistic worthiness, and Lynn comes trailing a further list of achievements in a similar sphere of uncompelling music industry orthodoxy. Fortunately they leave their MOR credentials outside the room for these thankfully less polished, more exploratory sessions. Still Life is aptly titled, since it’s all about low-motion unfolding tableaux, self-consciously exuding their nature tones into three extended pieces of subtle revelations. With the unpromising trombone, an instrument that traditionally blows an ill wind to these ears, Foltz takes a leaf out Hassell’s book of altered trumpet states to possibilize its music, opening up its sound. He semi-solos semi-drifts across much of Still Life’s contours—drawing together a hybrid of modal drone, ambient and jazz inflections. A plethora of unlikely sources from zithers to a half-filled bathtub were co-opted into sonorous communion on Still Life, now at Volume Three and still maintaining interest, the outcome tipping a discreet wink to tribal ambient while remaining aloof from the tired gestures of Fourth World imperialism.
Alan Lockett, e/i Magazine