One generally signs up to review these Rune Grammofon releases with a little trepidation -- how much of a challenge is this one going to be?
The third volume of collaboration between experimental European musicians Luigi Archetti and Bo Wiget continues the duo’s unusual brand of electro-acoustic improvisation. This fertile partnership is up to its 37th song (we know, because each is numbered); rather than a linear progression, Low Tides Digitals III plays more as a free-spirited exploration of whatever idea next presents itself. Whereas Rune Grammofon’s more esoteric acts explore noisier, more obtuse soundscapes, Archetti and Wiget are most comfortable when elaborating sedate atmospheres built off string drones. Though things can get suitably chaotic, they’re also not afraid of silence, and it’s the moments of quiet subtlety that makes Low Tides Digitals III an unexpected pleasure. “Stück 25” and “Stück 35”, for example, twist the simplicity of open fifths out of all concept of tempo or rhythm. Occasionally, the duo’s material has the restraint of a Chopin prelude. But these tone poems, with their quite obvious mix of acoustic and electronic elements, present this classical beauty firmly in a modern context. The world of Low Tides Digitals III isn’t all roses, but there is a certain blissful peace somewhere down in there.