STEVE RODEN + MEM1 – A Floating Wave Of Air

Estuary Ltd.

I can’t help slapping my face when, as in this circumstance, an item on the desk keeps winking before the determination to give it a try prevails, and a remarkable piece of work finally shines. The partnership between lowercase groundbreaker Steve Roden and Laura + Mark Cetilia dates back to a good while ago. A Floating Wave Of Air – released in the summer of 2015 – consists of six recordings made over a five-year span (three tracks are from 2008, the remaining ones from 2013). For starters, nothing among the magnificent sounds contained here reveals the temporal gap: the record appears to this listener’s ears as the fruit of a single session, its coherence exalted by the organic consecutiveness of the acoustic events.

The music’s lineament is totally anti-digital, informed as it is by a communion of unclean corporeality and analog spirits. The physical sentience of these materials seems related to an animal instinct of sorts (consider this a major compliment) enhanced by a painstaking investigation of the effects of certain frequencies on the psyche. Indeed, I found myself speculating about the theoretical utilization of earthy calls subsequently subjected to alteration and/or warping. Laura Cetilia’s sporadic vocalism is another humanizing element in that sense, manifested via softly hummed/looped tones when least expected.

As far as a “judgment” is concerned, simply be aware that this is unquestionably one of the most relevant albums of impure droning, hazy aliveness and inward-looking vacillation heard in many years, and I have listened to an awful lot of them. The main identifying factor lies in the obvious conscientiousness put by the artists in the entire process. The sensations conveyed speak of long days of analysis of each passage, of discarding of what wasn’t working, of lucky discoveries that needed to be emphasized within the murkier textures. Never for a moment we thought of a nonchalant gathering of heterogeneous sources: inside the complete persuasiveness of the sonic beliefs, the dim lights of seclusive environments represent the only aid towards levels of superior discernment.

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