Local Reviews: The Tenants of Balthazar’s Castle

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The Tenants of Balthazar's Castle
3 Dreams
American West Freedom Society Press
Street: 06.03
The Tenants of Balthazar's Castle = Eliane Radigue + Zeljko McMullen
Michael Biggs' (aka The Tenants of Balthazar's Castle) music requires patience, but that patience is rewarded with intrigue. Divided into three movements, Biggs starts the set with "Room (Dream)," a fairly grumbling, sometimes explosive, sub-frequency driven mix of oscillated gestures and reedy snippets. As the piece progresses, Biggs guides his bass tones into a solemn, yet surging, ostinato (sounding much like a gearshifting vehicle) before pulling the floor out and exposing even lower rumbles. Softer still, "City Dream" just occasionally wiggles, tremolo guitars striking at intervals to break up the stirring room noise. For the aptly named "Valley Dream," Biggs creates a pastoral blend of just-before-the-dawn, field-recorded ambience with his clarinet set on feedback delay, carefully calling his ensemble home in the distance as the disc dies out. It's a terrific balance of organics and mechanics.