III Professor – Wire & Air (2013)

Debut(?) album Wire & Air from Zelienople’s Brian Harding on the Constellation Tatsu label.


It’s such a beautiful day today, I just couldnt face reviewing Montren’s new album; too much drone, too cool and dark for one that is so warm and content. Instead we’re going to dive headfirst into the carefully crafted low-fidelity world of III Professor and his syncopated acoustic instrumentation. We open with the title track, a track that lives up to its namesake with its acoustic instrumentation, the interaction of the subtleties of vibrating strings in contact with the air to generate sounds. Both the piano and the guitar work in quiet harmony in this slow burning but surprisingly texturally active piece, which moves somewhat jerkily into “The Bird and the Moon”, which bottoms out a little after the opener. It chases the refined duotone instrumentation with a cool, linear stream of flute and guitars and drone instead that flows relatively undisturbed and rather eerily.

There’s another rather rapid change of pace as my favourite track of the album “Slate Line” appears, seeing the guitars return in their truest form (albeit a little faded around the edges). Despite this they still feel lively and interesting consistently, sporadically adding a little extra weight with a few additional chords adding bursts of quick energy into the equation before we once again fall into a downtempo phase of the music with the cerebral flutes of “Lapsed Time”; it feels like that quiet hour in the early morning where we sit at the table with our breakfast of choice and can’t work out how 20 minutes have suddenly passed, a slow and deceptive feeling.

The remainder of the album also appears to be content in pursuing a quiet and conscientious direction with “The Jellyfish, The Whale & Me”, probably one of the slowest tracks on the album in fact, crawling at a glacial place with gentle plucks of slowly evolving amorphous drone being supplemented by minimal piano strokes before it culminates in a single textured block of crescendo that rises to a point and dissolves. “Sun rise and set” encapsulates something of a sun-baked Post-Rock vibe with a cool, repetitive guitar riff buried under vast layers of reverb, slowly charting the easy passage and rotation of the Summer Sun as it moves through the sky, throwing its daily light into the unloved corners.

“The Five Tones Deafen” take us out on a really beautiful final note amidst a growing mass of writhing, processed guitar and the scarcely detectable cries of children; despite its more delicate overtones the underlying music is somewhat uncomfortable and on-edge and the juxtaposition, while slightly untenable, is what really makes this track interesting.

It’s an interesting album in that while it creates an initial impression that gives off an air of nostalgia and a sense of age and tiredness, it doesnt necessarily deliver those sensations. While it is true that its downtempo and low-fidelity tones do help to evoke those slightly clichéd notions it doesnt feel necessarily feel aged or wistful, its more a bleary and tired vision of our modern world with eyes that seek simplicity and the quieter and less complicated things in life.