22-03-2024 Music 362

Noah Barker & Nelson Devereaux - Subtle Frequencies

Noah Barker & Nelson Devereaux - Subtle Frequencies

The new musical collaboration from Noah Barker and Nelson Devereaux, Subtle Frequencies (FPE Records, April 26), is a shared labor distilled from two lives unapologetically chasing sounds. Noah, the son of AACM percussionist Thurman Barker, came up in music, and leads the jazz-pop group Noisebody, as well as the post-bop-flavored Noah Barker Quartet. Nelson is a heavy-gigging saxman who plays in the coolest groups - Bon Iver, Craig Finn, Paul Cherry, Jungle, Lizzo.

The pair has played together a lot, but never as a duo. Subtle Frequencies, the first record that's only them and no one else, is a brief and potent sabbatical from their musical day jobs. It feels visionary: an intense concentration on a shared goal eternally out of reach yet tantalizingly clear in ephemeral bursts. Pre-dawn vibes shine, all iridescent synth and breathy sax tones, mysterious drumless musings and misty condensations of sonic dew.

Explorers of the farthest reaches of the ECM Records catalog will uncover a nearby treasure in Subtle Frequencies, glittering aural riches bathed in warm tape hiss, tiny glitches marking dropouts in the transmission, perhaps from Jon Hassell's fourth world. All eyes close, lungs expand and contract, mystery of machine and breath revealed to open ears: Noah and Nelson made the trip and this is the record.

Subtle Frequencies will be available in digital and cassette format from FPE Records April 26, 2024.


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