BILL THOMPSON – Mouthful Of Silence

Burning Harpsichord

Over the last few years Bill Thompson has become a most dependable purveyor of sanative reverberations. Upon receiving a notification of his latest release, the focus immediately shifted to its superb name: what better than a mouthful of silence when the verbose egocentrism of the average being systematically outweighs the necessity of an aware muteness?

The expression comes from poet Charles Wright’s “Watching The Equinox Arrive In Charlottesville, September 1992, 2:23 p.m.” (which, incidentally, could also be a nice title for an AMM album). Additional thanks then to Prof_LoFi for having pointed yours truly to those beautiful verses besides the divergent chiming. The latter is featured throughout a 2-CD limited edition comprehensive of a bonus track: the 45-minute “Shifting Currents Installation”, a performer-less soundscape originating from Thompson’s creative partnership with Keith Rowe and Rick Reed.

The primary source of wonder is a Moog guitar: an instrument that, in extreme synthesis, allows infinite sustain on all strings while unsheathing sharp harmonics in the process. Live electronics and found objects complete the palette. The quality detected since the very beginning is a clear exemplification of the difference between a wannabe randomly throwing a signal through a chain of pedals and a sensitive composer painstakingly fine-tuning every module of his music.

On the other hand, carve this excerpt from the artist’s statement in your mind: “When we are confronted by a genuinely new experience and attempt to understand it, we grow as a result”.

The genesis of this material can be traced in Live At The Brunswick Club, issued in 2017 by Touch Radio. Thompson refined the prototype and completed the concept to generate a pair of stunners called “Stillness” and “Solitude”, both of them masterpieces of radiant droning. At the basis of everything lie the unfading auras born from Thompson’s control on pitch emission and resonance color. Variations are introduced by the flexible rates of differently shaded oscillations, the density of the jangling matters and – only rarely – by surges of piercing intensity overcoming the more tranquilizing textures to jeopardize the preceding stupor. An innate consciousness of the upper partials in each chordal percolation is the means to project diverse types of acoustic luminance towards the responsive addressee.

Thompson’s work evokes glimpses of the superior level of cognition that links selected frequency-scanning individuals beyond ages and locations. It’s the network of reticent perception permeated by legitimate vibration, a term by now meaningless in the filthy mouths of sapient simpletons. With records like this, the entire system of anthropocentric knowledge still believed to be “studied” by countless unfortunates gets turned upside down.

Therefore, let’s start from the beholder’s wordlessness. The sounds will do the rest.

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