With The Surveyors, their third record as Architeuthis Walks on Land, violist AMY CIMINI and bassoonist KATHERINE YOUNG build on their “raw yet refined sophistication,” bringing an intense, kinetic approach to their instruments and duo performance. Cimini and Young have collaborated as Architeuthis Walks on Land for over a decade, performing throughout the U.S. and releasing Natura Naturans (Carrier, 2010) and Architeuthis Walks on Land (Set-Projects, 2008).
Architeuthis developed The Surveyors during a 2011 residency at the Rensing Center for the Arts in the Smoky Mountain foothills of South Carolina and recorded, mixed and mastered the album at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC). Juxtaposing these sites, The Surveyors evokes at turns a gritty landscape built of wood, string and air, while at other moments, the music uncouples from the acoustic realities of these two old instruments in unexpected ways. The duo reconsiders the imaginary and physical spaces their music can create, applying electronics in tandem with improvisational spontaneity and lithe, precise composition.
The Surveyors links three expansive pieces with two interludes. “The Speculators” melds Cimini’s lyrical pizzicati with Young’s keening, pitch-shifted harmonica in an alien, gothic landscape. In “The Assayers,” ferocious virtuosity frames the hypnotic weight of a rich, multi-textured drone, as acoustic and processed sounds alchemically meld. Consonant harmonies introduce an unpredictable play of haptic proximity and distanced, reverberant perspectives in “The Assayers.”
The duo’s name – Architeuthis Walks on Land – suggests a terrifying incursion into untraversable terrain. With their third record, Cimini and Young work with amplification and pedals to expand and intensify their timbral vocabulary, developing improvisational interactions and compositional concerns beyond the gestural and linear into immersive and spatial frameworks.