This is one of the most interesting and experimental recordings it has been my privilege to review.
These two artists have been collaborating since 2015 and produced their first recording “Negative Chambers ” in 2017. They mix electronic sounds with traditional acoustic instruments. They employ an ensemble cast and various forms of displaced sound. Their music occupies a space all its own between electronic and acoustic.
The opening track of ‘Emanate’ “From Light to Refraction” begins with a single note. This builds to a somewhat discordant sound with ambient sounds beneath. The idea of shifting is strongly suggested. There are hints here of Eno’s ‘Discreet Music’ but also of modern classical composers such as Philip Glass and Samuel Barber
“Interlude 1” maintains the one-note theme with hints of rhythmic wood blocks echoing beneath the strings. Track 3 “From Reflection To Procession” has a feel of baroque sacred music. Flavours of Tallis and Purcell resonate. The ambient sounds flutter and echo through the structure as bass vibrations rumble beneath.
“Interlude 2” features a more electronic feel. The more organic woodblock sounds return. There are hints of Steve Reich and a captivating fizzing sound persists.
“Procession” continues the more electronic feel and there are hints of film soundtracks. It is possible to visualise the slow-moving procession with swaying black robes. Fading and growing by turn the music builds to eerie crescendos before falling away. “Interlude 3” has breathier sounds and the claves and woodblocks sounds return in this shorter piece. Distant rhythmic echoes persist. “From Procession To Refraction” features unnerving, shifting sounds that create an uneasy feeling with suggestions of melodies that never begin or end. Track 7 is a longer piece with multiple layers of sound. An orchestra suggests itself as if hinting at Vivaldi-like themes but the beauty is that it never manifests itself totally. “Interlude 4” once again features the one-note introduction. The woodblocks are more persistent here acting as a lead instrument rather than background sounds. The final track “From Refraction to Light” closes this brave, introspective, and deeply thoughtful record with a longer piece that takes us back to where we started with growing layers of strings slowly and elegantly drawing the piece to a close. This is a captivating recording and it would be fascinating to hear it performed live to experience the totality of the profoundly introspective vision of these two pioneering artists.
Written by Paul Bamlett
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