We’re becoming dangerously accustomed to Joseph Branciforte’s Greyfade’s superbly produced albums. This one in particular has held our attention from the beginning, finely soundtracking the increasingly scarce quiet bits that current life offers. It is also a crucial release for Branciforte himself since, in his own words, the sound world of Greg Davis profoundly influenced his ambition to publish minimalist and process-based works in the most consistent manner possible with regard to the balance between the composer’s targets and the audience’s threshold of perception. The reason Greyfade does not make its output available on popular streaming platforms is made very plain on the label’s website.
The content of New Primes – obviously founded on the utilization of prime numbers as a creative source – is the natural progression of ideas that were first developed in 2008, and released in the Primes album the subsequent year. The material was constructed by Davis using an infrastructure of pure sine tones and a proprietary software system created in the Max/MSP environment. It might seem unlikely that a “heartless” mechanism could produce such a wide range of surging pulses and reverberating gradients of chiaroscuro. Instead, one grows more at ease inside of this insulating cocoon over time. One would never want to leave, in fact. With no indications of harmonic convention, we float in the strangely resonant clouds that the sine tones’ inherent nature spontaneously elicits. They beautifully waver and spread across an adequate space, fit to each other’s shape, get into a little conflict, then finally unwind into extended waves of well-being for our receptivity. Not to mention the nerves, which appear to have entirely shifted positions and stopped delivering any tension signals following a few minutes of genuine bliss.
I challenge anyone who talks about “cold math” to rephrase their statements after listening to this recording.