More people should get acquainted with the resonant universe of Andrew James Anderson of Austin, Texas. I stumbled upon this elusive sound artist by pure chance, but it was a classic case of immediate attraction, followed by further validation as the experience progressed. Not particularly prolific, generally bound to the concept of micro-production in extremely limited editions (on cassette), in 2019’s Velvet Fjord Anderson makes the most of three basic sources – synthesizer, samples and field recordings – to craft veritable journeys through a voiceless introspection.
Remarkably, this music fails to emulate anyone else’s, at least nobody that I can recall. This is an outright rarity these days. Building on silence, the meaning of every passage takes shape in gradual stages. Textural elements surface at the right time to naturally fit into the compositional picture, making themselves known to the ears without dissolving the mesmeric aura provided by the instrumental/environmental blend. The balance between intelligible electronics and cryptic echoes is impeccable throughout. One can breathe easy, listen calmly and unhurriedly within the droning slowness.
A conjunction of mystery, restraint, awareness of each component’s positioning, and so much more. It was only by poking around the web that we were able to glean a few clues as to the acoustic symbolism of this work. In the words of Anderson himself, “the album is about the cycle of life and afterlife. Track one is birth/awakening. Track two is life/struggle. Track three is death/acceptance. ‘Velvet Drone’ is inspired by the Bardo, hence 47 minutes long to reflect the 47 years of being in the Bardo, and therefore, rebirth. That is why it starts with ocean recordings and ends with cicadas“. The rest of the comprehension, and eventual identification with some trait of the innermost self, is up to you. Set aside a couple of lonely hours, and prepare for subsequent returns.