Murmur: Fermata review in Offbeat
by Alex Rawls,
Itís cheating a little to call Fermata a Katrina project; itís more of an echo (literally) of our past. Some of the Backporch Revolution packóPotpie, members of Chef Menteuróset up a two-track recorder and took acoustic instruments into a fermenting tank in the Dixie Brewery months before Katrina, where they recorded two extended drones taking advantage of the natural echo of the tank, which was so intense that speaking was impossible. The tapes were temporarily lost in the flood and the brewery was flooded, looted and abandoned.
The most remarkable part of the music is its acoustic origins because itís not obvious. If you know to listen for a zither or acoustic guitar, you occasionally hear the strum, but they donít have the attack youíre used to, and notes that seem to hang forever tend to have electronic origins to aid in the sustain.
Drone music is certainly an acquired taste, and to appreciate it, you have to be open to subtle textural or tonal fluctuations being the only thing that is happening at any given moment. The music is an environment, one that moves slowly from a buzzing guitar string to a cascade of zither notes that create a fragile, rippling energy. If these pieces suffer from anything, itís a similarity of mood and tempo, but overall, Fermata is a lovely ghost of Old New Orleans.