In 2017, Kowa Axis (James Barry) & Pale World (Joe Parkes) found themselves sharing a bill on a sunny Sunday afternoon in London’s New Cross. It was the first time they’d ever heard of each other. One loud, bleak and oppressive solo set each later, they had a five-minute exchange by the side of the stage which created the first spark of what would become Niche Field.
A few months later the two artists returned to New Cross to record…something. The only planning discussion had been about guitar tunings and who would bring what equipment.
The result of that second face to face meeting is the four improvisations that make up Niche Field. It’s unstudied improvisation in its purest form – two artists reacting, provoking and responding to each other. Recorded at extreme volume, (‘Secondary’ documents the destruction of a guitar amplifier, quite literally rattled to pieces internally by low-end frequencies) the two guitarists bonded over a shared desire to manhandle the physicality of sound.
The end result veers between merciless sonic barrage, uneasy listening and enveloping meditational warmth.
Parkes elaborates; “I feel the honesty of how we were both playing at the time really resonates in the recording. After hearing the final mixes of it I knew it would be special.”
The album title is both a wry comment on the wilfully esoteric nature of each musician’s respective output – and a muffled scream at trying to get traction in a world where a thousand generic acts start every day. It can be, quite literally, like pulling teeth.‘Niche Field’ will be released on Limited Edition Cassette (limited to 20).