Keith Berry: composition, all sounds
As I observed Iain Stewart’s cover photograph, the ebbing-and-flowing attributes of Towards The Blue Peninsula brought my memory back to the magnificent 58° North, a DVD from 2008 which paired Stewart’s achingly beautiful imagery of Scottish marine areas and Keith Berry’s evocative music. Unwilling to snatch that item from the jaws of my messy archive for a comparison, I’m nevertheless sure that this previously unreleased work shares a few of its acoustic traits with the former. Straight away: it’s a new glorious illustration of Berry’s capability of impacting the listener’s cognitive states through blurred sonorities that cannot fail to set the mechanisms of yearning in motion.
The twelve tracks segue one into another, all revolving around massive reiterative structures hypothetically linkable to galactic landscapes, in addition to the feel of “underwater orchestra” representing the initial reaction to what we hear. The dilatory looping, the gradual changes of scenario and the suggestions generated by camouflaged pulses let us envisage a wise old man in his death bed, the chest moving slowly during the inspiration and expiration phase, mnemonic retentions released as the last ounces of physical strength are leaving the body. There’s an implicit, cryptic serenity behind all this. A soothing confirmation of the natural justness of what inescapably waits for all of us despite the forces uselessly spent to nurture the illusion of being remembered.
At the same time, we keep spinning the album to better penetrate its sonic detail. Yet this is not allowed by Berry, who works with frequencies so heavily equalized that, on occasion, one can imagine cumuli of two, three or more chords melting in an undefinable palette to emerge as pure harmonic vapor. Once again we have become addicted to that mix of mental absence and perception of the post-existence that typifies the finest chapters of contemporary minimal electronica. Don’t you dare to call this “ambient” – Mr. Berry doesn’t know the meaning of the word “wallpaper”. Concentrate and listen deeply, enjoy the penultimate shades of awareness while preparing for the eventual leap into the cuddling arms of Mother Resonance. It takes a lifetime, but you should have known since the very beginning.