David Grubbs & Nikos Veliotis – THE HARMLESS DUST


In my world, dust has never been harmless; in fact it’s one of my worst enemies, especially considering how depressed – not to mention allergic – I get when trying in vain to remove it from records and books. As a symbol for our eternal inability to accept the passage of time, dust is invincible and must be accepted as such. This sense of ineluctable dejection permeates the first movement of Grubbs and Veliotis’ composition for cello, Hammond organ and piano (both regular and eBowed) in this splendidly packaged release on the Japanese Headz label. Grubbs’s infrequent piano chords sprout in Veliotis’s slightly dissonant, seemingly unplayable cello stasis, and a delicate, plangent grieving lyricism permeates the acoustic space throughout the first half of the record. It’s a sort of multi-layer lithograph where the scarcity of material forces us concentrate on the essential. After 30 seconds of silence at the end of part one, the scenario changes completely and the pair set out on a long exploration of those aural phenomena deriving from adjacent tones beloved of composers like Phill Niblock. But where Niblock builds walls of sound, Grubbs and Veliotis remain close to the ground except for some intense Hammond bursts emerging from the grey mist. It all amounts to an intense listening experience where music and receiver truly become a single entity.


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