Three Nice Ones From 12k

Time to gather ideas about a tryptich of recent releases by Taylor Deupree’s label, whose production ranges from mildly infatuating to absolutely necessary, usually maintaining the artistic level well over average while respecting the canons of dumbfounding catalepsy that most of this music evokes.

Amplifier Machine’s Her Mouth Is An Outlaw is a nice collection of somnolent tunes, typically erected upon reiterative guitar chords washed in long reverb, slightly disturbed by small, apparently unconnected noises. Indeed all three members – Seth Rees, James Dixon, Alex Jarvis – play an axe somewhere; other instruments include drums, violin, piano and “Korg” (what model of “Korg” we’ll never know). Being this trio a meeting of songwriters, no surprise then that the tracks are vividly reminiscent of the memorisable qualities of an extremely simple air: everything moves leisurely and predictably, the harmonic basis practically equivalent from a piece to another, the brain veritably lulled in comfortable stupor. Some of the atmospheres, principally in the title track, bring to mind “Twin Peaks” (a commonplace, yet true). The real jewel is “Pockets Full Of Red Dirt”, a hypnotic kneading of the cranium via sub-bass frequencies that the speakers just can’t contain, letting them free to multiply around the place and choke the blissful victim from behind. Not a work of genius, but a pleasurable record for sure.

Perhaps the lot’s finest is Filaments & Voids by Kenneth Kirschner, a 2-CD set that explores the alternance of sound and stillness quite thoroughly, placing several important inputs in the fundamental nature of the conscious listener. Kirschner, an artist living in New York, seized these glimpses of infinity between 1996 and 2008, all but one characterized by the “appearances” of silent segments linking disparate kinds of secretion. Despite the consistency of the basic notion all the way through, the discs are different in terms of sonority. The first contains three pieces, the character of two of them nearer to ambient/space territories – admittedly with a higher degree of intensity – with a particular mention for the unforgettable “October 19, 2006”, a succession of intangible coronas of indistinct harmonics whose impact on our sense of perception is immediate and truly awe-inspiring, especially if listened in utter peace at 5:30 AM as per my customary approach with this kind of material. “June 10, 2008” is the only selection where the resonance is continuous, recalling string-based aural sculptures – picture a bionic replica of Ellen Fullman – yet entirely generated by a computer’s virtual timbres. The second disc comprises a single 72-minute contemplation: “March 16, 2006”, also intriguingly beautiful, derives from re-recorded piano phrases – halfway through transcendence and homesickness – on an iPod with a cheap microphone, occasionally garnished with muted echoes of urban traffic and various types of hoarse murmur and grainy noise. The result is an odd combination of Eno, Basinski and Asher, eliciting memories of pale yellow lights at night in a thick fog, insubstantial misconceptions of melody gradually turning into a disheartening chronic condition of vulnerability.

Giuseppe Ielasi contributed to this splendidly sunny, if ice-cold Saturday morning by way of his latest release Aix, thus called as it was created in Aix-En-Provence, France (the hometown of double bass diva Jöelle Léandre, for those who really wanted to know) in the autumn of last year. Nine petite segments, constructed through the capable assemblage of pre-taped samples – both from existing records and instruments and the actual world – arranged in a sort of biotic arrhythmic structure that nevertheless results welcoming, at times even delightful. Music which finds nourishment in a cyclical unpunctuality, where the acoustic properties of timbral physicality and a multitude of semi-randomized snippets are consecrated at the altar of a malleable variety of electronica where in reality the electronic aspect is nearly kept in the background to privilege event fluency and textural warmth. There’s not a moment of raucousness or discordance, Ielasi’s stratagems always tending to the faultless functionality of the sonic organism. This is – weirdly – the best attribute and a noticeable limit of the album, which sometimes sounds too “smiling” to the ears in its total lack of emergency or dilemmas. Still, this is beyond doubt a lovely outing if you’re not looking for the excessive embitterment of an already complicated reality.

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