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The Quietus

Despite running to three discs and almost as many hours, Mural's Tempo is more immediate, with moments of tension and release among its long, contemplative passages. Drawn from a four hour performance at the Rothko Chapel in Houston, Texas, Tempo brings together reedist Jim Denley, 12-string guitar and zither player Kim Myhr and percussionist Ingar Zach. We enter at the start of the second hour, the musicians having established their terms. There are occasional lapses into over-familiar free-improv tropes, but for the large part, this is an original and affecting performance, with the musicians' individual voices blending into a unified whole. Denley conjures sussurus tones and controlled feedback moans while Ingar Zach is a highly inventive presence on percussion. Rubbing and tapping a mallet against the skin, he coaxes low resonant tones and squeaks from his gran cass (bass drum), occasionally laying a far-away pulse under Myhr's gossamer string textures. The fourth element in the piece – Mark Rothko's paintings – may be absent to home listeners, but Tempo is a vivid and compelling artwork in its own right.