BILL THOMPSON – Solace

Burning Harpsichord Media

Bill Thompson (aka prof_lofi): electronics, field recordings, etc.

Thompson’s sobriquet may derive from the reference to his instructional activities combined with the penchant for discerping machines to pull recyclable sonic matter out of their bowels, but Solace also proves that he’s neither a demented pseudo-scientist nor a button-pushing contemplative nonentity. Indeed he’s an intelligent composer gifted with specific cognitions; concerts and records with people such as Keith Rowe and Rick Reed are not a possibility if one’s a slouch. While we’re at it, the review of the trio’s Shifting Currents (originally on Mikroton) has been waiting enough by now. Stay tuned.

A graceful start, distant honking geese in a general feel of bright-morning tranquility. Things get soon rather consuming as an aggregation of gradually mutating, constantly intertwining frequencies covering the whole range of auditive identification takes command of the psychoacoustic sphere. Let me tell you straight away: you have to set the volume way up to realize how these circuits voice their nervousness towards the auricular membranes. It’s a sturdy yet refined brain treatment causing the quivering of a room’s corner’s refraction, besides the sensation of being half-displaced in the realm of sensory improvement.

A few moments of muteness, then the noise of someone’s boots walking through a rural area (car engines and jets still detectable in the background) is followed by further manipulations of unspecified materials. It’s the introduction to a segment where the subtleness of the electronics is very close to total quietness. Someone might mistakenly attempt to decorate the place with individual esthesis and selfish comments urgently tending to a definition or a categorization. What this writer did was letting those diaphanously subacute pitches illuminate the remote areas of his own semi-consciousness, avoiding citations to relish the gentle radioactivity spreading around. We’re talking “unassuming presence”, not “mandatory description”.

Stillness again after circa 21 minutes but – as Yogi Berra would have it – it ain’t over ’til it’s over. In the final section, an earth loop maelstrom strengthens its clout on those desirous of shutting the rest of the world out. The morphology of the humming mass is filtered and equalized to systematically refuse stasis, a spiral of flanging formations with lines of light that change vividness across that compelling integrity. A foreign chorus with pulsating sonorousness to spare, leading us to utter silence. Alone as before, perhaps even more.

Don’t forget to turn that knob clockwise, for reducing this splendidly graphic therapy to a Wandelweiser-like exercise in perking up the ears to acknowledge the nullity of significance would be a disgrace. This stuff kicks – it desperately wants to live, to breathe.

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