Chicago Reader

My favorite of Volden's projects, the trio Muddersten, likewise makes extensive use of friction on its recent second album, Playmates (Sofa). The group also includes microtonal tuba player Martin Taxt and sound artist Henrik Olsson, who's credited with "objects, friction, piezo"—where "piezo" refers to a type of contact microphone, which he uses to capture the most microscopic of sounds. Volden contributes tape loops as well as guitar, which helps explain the lavalike flow of difficult-to-identify sounds in these four pieces. 

The music is sumptuously fluid, despite its odd instrumentation: Taxt's rubbery low-end blubbering cradles bits of feedback, organlike drones, metronomic clicking, prepared guitar, and all manner of electronically manipulated scratching and rubbing. Picking out specific instruments is only possible here and there. The musicians collectively conjure shifting sound-worlds whose nubby textures and rich surfaces suggest tactile rather than aural sensations. These pieces are sometimes strangely serene, sometimes tensely fraught, as though balancing on edge and ready to collapse or explode any moment—but they never do. Muddersten make something out of almost nothing: their fiercely minimalist music blossoms with fascinating detail once you adjust to the superficial limitations of its ASMR-worthy sonic palette.