Either under his real name or the Mites pseudonym, over the last years Grisha Shakhnes has been unostentatiously producing a sufficient number of releases deserving earnest consideration. Working principally with old cassettes and location recordings, Shakhnes underpins feeble-lighted continuums with a somewhat harmonic manipulation of selected bits and pieces of gathered sounds. Which – for their large part – remain entirely unfathomable.
Arcs comprises four tracks built upon the aforementioned features amplified and enhanced, then put into “heavy mesmeric rotation”. The lack of definition of most sources is inversely proportional to the message’s straightforwardness. As one attempts to get comfortable within a hypothetical “groove” – courtesy of unobtrusive reiteration – occasional elements possessing a higher dynamic value do appear. It’s enough to capture the listener’s focus for a few instants; however, the overall level of (rational) detachment is re-established almost immediately as the brain gets used to that presence.
Another essential factor is the parallelism between textural griminess – occasionally of pseudo-aquatic character, as in “How Long?” – and the deformed imagery implied by the compositional method. In a way, Shakhnes presents us with the equivalent of an illustrated book whose pages were warped by mustiness. You vaguely remember the original but, at the same time, must deal with mouldy stains attributing a wholly different set of nuances to erstwhile clear pictures and texts. Notwithstanding, this exploitation of the corrosion of content is not informed by nostalgia. We perceive the present, attracted by the intuition of what might follow rather than overburdened by the memories of happier times.