YANN NOVAK – Presence


It’s funny to note how my mind usually refuses to take in the often abstruse “explanations” that accompany a music release. This occurrence is particularly frequent in the ambient/installation soundtrack area, namely the place where Presence fits. Born as sound material for an event at the Art Museum of Torrance (California), this piece essentially consists of a single 48-minute stroke of ice and grey gradations, moving from silence to different states of vibrational and hissing entrancement. Nothing more than that, actually – but it is very beautiful to hear. The movements are scarce and extremely gradual, the shifts from a level to another barely discernible. Occasionally the lower frequencies come at the mix’s forefront, only to be pushed back by other kinds of radiation, typically facilitating an overall sense of quiet transcendence. I’m not really able to understand what Novak means with “balancing between his own personal history and that of the audience”, apparently the work’s fundamental aim. A composer and a receiver will never meet at halfway point, despite contrary appearances; too many are the variables involved in a listening experience. But sonically speaking – because this is what interests me beyond everything – this is most definitely one of his finest propositions, for which the “infinite repeat” recommendation comes natural.

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