Known to enthusiasts of intelligent noise as Antimatter, several times associate – among others – of the late Zbigniew Karkowski, polyfunctional audio engineer Christopher “Xopher” Davidson presents us with a pair of remarkable compositions realized between 2019 and 2020 on the ancient prototype of the Buchla synthesizer, a machine as old as this reviewer. Davidson is a man who practically lives within currents, either physical or creative. The lifelong preoccupation with the inherent vibrational quality of every element pervading his universe is therefore not at all surprising.
Like any (rare) reputable operator in this overpopulated industry, all too often accommodating outright frauds, Davidson seeks to extricate and make explicit harmonic significance from what ordinary ears would dismiss as nothing but a mass of oppressive din. Both “Absolute Phase” and “Lux Perpetua”, respectively dedicated to Maryanne Amacher and the aforementioned Karkowski, actually kick off with long stretches of brutalist monolithic distortion. But the researcher’s concern evidently goes much further. The superimposition of a hyper-processed 12-string guitar and sonorities obtained with Iannis Xenakis’ UPIC software on top of the heavy turbo-droning resonance resulting from the Buchla’s oscillators triggers in the listener an improved awareness of the electro-acoustic organism’s disguised sentience.
In keeping with the type of experimentation, the pieces sustain a gradual metamorphosis. They shift from a state of disorder – albeit well regulated in its pseudo-stasis – to overlapping quasi-organ chordal openings, in front of which the soul begins to quiet down. Even if, in the background, one can still hear the attempts of low-frequency “evil forces” to corrupt that laboriously achieved consonance. It is a fact that, at the end of the experience, the sensation of purification – perennially sought through the completeness of sound – is tangible. A massive hand, at first clenched in a fist, finally opens to let fall sand coloured with gorgeous timbral shades.