This writer values the cicadas’ chorus in the summer more than his own life. Nonetheless, he concluded that an experiment should be conducted today, on a 38°C afternoon when the adored insects believed they were in charge, putting a different type of mantra against the entomological one. Thus, let me present another extraordinary exploration of a lone instrument’s frequencies by the honorable Phill Niblock. A piece that we had been carrying around for days, weeks, and months, waiting for the right words to fully depict its potential. 

NuDaf, released in July 2021 and entirely constructed on Dafne Vicente-Sandoval‘s bassoon, has unique elements that complement the awe-inspiring pitch superimpositions to which we have grown accustomed from Niblock. For instance, a single note is repeatedly and noticeably emphasized at the beginning of the track among the other tones, as if to express an instrumental identity while well cognizant of the composer’s preference for a droning mélange that usually obscures that identity. In the same place, the ear may be fooled by psychoacoustics and attempt to detect some sort of harmonic cadence: a hypothetical heresy in Niblock’s music, the ultimate acoustic representation of the limitlessness that so terrifies Big Bang believers and proponents of ludicrous parables on the purported perfection of the invisible man.

NuDaf, however, is only 65 minutes long as opposed to the infinity we need to melt in. It is nevertheless true that, after a relatively short spell, we have thoroughly immersed ourselves in the typical sensation of a lack of rational benchmarks. The mind has finally completely turned off, and the body is no longer even aware of the heat. Vicente-Sandoval’s cleverly generated partials have begun to merge and create the pulse that results from adjacency, hovering over our cranium. They send out a presence/absence signal that paves the way for a time when we will be unafraid, silent, protected from ominous predictions, delivered from the faces of politicians who make our stomachs turn. The cicadas outside the window had temporarily stopped chirping in the meantime. They are now ready to follow the master after hearing what he had to say, and learning something new.

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