Review of “Summer Crash” by Maya Dunietz & Tom White from Now Then magazine
“There is a growing community in Sheffield exploring the intersection between electroacoustic music, noise and musique concrète, with Access Space and the University’s Sound Laboratory building reputations for challenging and innovative new work. Local label Singing Knives form the third point in this seditious triangle. Summer Crash sees them pair Maya Dunietz, a pianist, composer, improviser and singer from Tel Aviv, with award-winning sound artist Tom White for two long-form compositions and two shorter tracks.
Inferences in the title to a breezy pop record are quickly dispelled by ‘Everything Is Soaked’, which starts with a few seconds of wobbly vibrato before opening out into a 16-minute exploration of mood and memory. Dunietz’s voice punctuates the mix as and when, singing a wordless interpretation of what could be a traditional music, liberally pitch-shifted and warped in places. The accompanying piano, minor key and slightly mournful, evokes the same lost time as a Caretaker record, or the ballroom scene from The Shining that inspired it.
‘Spare Ribs’ sports an ear-rattling feedback drone for its entirety and will be difficult for anyone but the most ardent avant-gardist to stick with. More rewarding is ‘Josephine’, a riot of plucked strings, crackle, hiss and operatic vocals. ‘Summer’, the final track, sounds like it has a more conventionally beautiful piano instrumental trying to break out of it, and in the last few minutes it almost does, bringing a sense of cathartic release to a demanding but ultimately rewarding listen.”