The ascendancy of a record like Scilens on a sympathetic individual’s understanding can’t possibly remain unsung. There are artists that tend to melt away valuable energies across a wide gamut of intuitions, sonic investigations fluctuating in the midst of various levels of efficiency. On the contrary, Steven Hess, Joseph Clayton Mills and Adam Sonderberg are specialized in compacting the results of their studio labour into messages that arrive straight to the point, cutting the line that links concreteness and transcendence exactly in between.
At least three veritable masterpieces are comprised by this extraordinary album, enigmatic impenetrability appearing as a precious gift. “Setae” and “Winter Wasp” are exemplary drone pieces, vital swells hiding hundreds of procedures, the kind of introspective response to life’s small incidents that defines only a fractional number of creatures. If someone’s able to catch just a few of the truly significant sounds occasionally disclosed by silence, that person can be considered blessed. But being able to take dozens of similarly circumstantial events to include them in awesome textural amassments – together with secretions deriving from an expert handling of the inner parts of standard instruments, electric circuits and everyday objects – that does require special ears.
Long minutes of utter stillness introduce the third ill-defined jewel: a 20-minute nameless track, not even hinted to on the sleeve, placing an already overwhelmed listener in uncomfortable mantric arms. The end is spelled via a reiterated murmur – perhaps a processed gong, or bass drum, enhanced by vanishing pitches at different heights – that makes one consider the unavoidable termination of stupid existential matters with the same fortitude of a soldier who knows that he’s sacrificing life for a reason that is bigger than his will, and is nevertheless ready to do it without flinching.