Students Of Decay

Maxwell August Croy, Sean McCann: koto, cello, violin, processing.

Stripped bare of any futile pretense, the music comprised by I – needless to say, a first album together for Croy and McCann, both new names to underscore yours truly’s infinite ignorance once again – resonates with almost unearthly power and instrumental gracefulness, placing itself in a domain where string-generated drones, timidly smiling grieving and an unmistakable melodic disposition fuse in nerve-rewarding concord. A track such as “Alexandria” will not violate the ears of listeners in awe of Eno’s Pachelbel treatments in Discreet Music, its sublime sonority overwhelmingly gripping. Vast skies of low frequencies turn the mechanics of cognition into useless particles; shards of mermaid chants seem to emerge from reverberating seas, scented with a homesick vibe. Echoes of folk lullabies and orchestral chromaticity push forward a regular pulse – quite Japanese in character – in “Momiji”, whereas an inspirational concoction of rarefied plucks and submersed chorales transmits a meditative feel to “The Inlet Arc”. Radiant chords inform “Column Of Mirrors”, whose allegiance to pseudo-stasis is monumentally effective in its vibrational appearance. Throughout the program, the musicians’ silent righteousness prevails: I couldn’t discover sources of counterfeit inwardness anywhere, detecting instead a degree of unassuming sincerity behind the compositions which is rare to find in akin proposals. Still, some of this aural matter is truly majestic, especially if played at consistent volume; and the press release is fairly correct about quoting Richard Skelton, for the vital principles underlying this work look somewhat similar.

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