GRISHA SHAKHNES – Being There

Unfathomless

“Sometimes I try to eliminate the outside noise, but my apartment has no double-paned windows and I can’t be completely silent either”. Perhaps this sentence, taken from Grisha Shakhnes’ liner notes to this album, is filtered by this writer’s ever-growing unsociability; however, it does seem to express both a quest for quietness frustrated by the inevitability of human activity in a populated area, and the intention of using a potential problem as a compositional strategy to ultimately arrive at a different kind of silence. The expression “being there” suggests a relinquishment of the original need; a symbol of the acceptance of simply existing amidst other beings and learning to merge our own currents in the huge flow to avoid exasperation, as per the longest track’s title “It’s A Good Day To Stay Outside”.

Sticking to the content, Shakhnes has revealed time and again a distinct ability in utilizing field recordings and their transformations to encourage a listener’s appreciation of the wholeness rather than the attempt to locate details and sources. Although there is a percentage of definite character in the acoustic landscape, the overall feeling is that of a diary page mildly discolored by sonic matters deprived of frequencies in selected ranges, as to maintain a murkiness which is necessary to hit the creative target. In another passage of his explanation, Shakhnes hints to “the sounds you think you hear and you actually hear”, once more highlighting how one’s psychological setting is decisive in the variability of perception and in the correctness (or lack thereof) of the meanings attributed to the message. At the end of the day, this junction of amplified and/or camouflaged room activities and wobbly anthropoid interference is functional enough to keep our focus throughout the full hour.

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