Guitarist Bill Horist, long a member of psych collective Master Musicians of Bukake, crafts here a score for Calgary choreographer Davida Monk's piece Dream Pavilion. The score and accompanying dance piece set out to bring life to Netsuke, tiny Japanese sculptures that often depict gods, animals and people in moments of extreme emotion. As such the pieces vary by the type of character they convey, from slightly playful to, more often, dark and foreboding. Horist's use of prepared guitar and a Vietnamese lute called đàn nguyệt were the mainstays of the live performances but here he's further augmented them in studio with the addition of bass, percussion and electronics that further serve to bring out the usually frozen emotions that are caught in the Netsuke's expressions. The record acts as a journey down the snake's den, rather than the rabbit hole, winding and weaving through the dark corridors with deft precision and a predatory tension. Its jarring at times but on the whole an engrossing listen that captures the imagination even without the dance.
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