CD HMS 002
Lost At Sea
reviewed by Max Schaefer
rating: 8 / 10
Ozeanische Gefühle is a rich tapestry of musical events; some
of them are conventionally notated, others symbolically. It is an
attempt to strangle the freakishly crossbred pet of conventional musical
tonality. A dichotomy flanked by raw field recordings and the act
of harvesting invisible sounds hidden inside vacuum tubes makes this
a frivolous and occasionally baffling creature that, like a chess
player, is only fond of the process, but not the end result.
This process is undertaken using a wide sonic palette of ominous hums,
otherworldly voices and bewildering intrusions of cacophonic noise
that have the unstable volatility of overloaded circuits. Giving form
to the formless, Ozeanische Gefühle is a document of the relationship
between sound and environment, exploiting their interplay in the entirety
of an experience. Snapping snares, airless pattering clicks, coiling
metallic drones and buzzing saw-toothed organs are but a dash of the
sounds that overlay palpable, ever-evolving samples of nature's
muddled majesty. Concepts and physical sensations, electronic and
acoustic characteristics, composed and incidental elements are fused
into a pleasurable, thought-provoking breadth in their execution here.
At times these impressionistic slices imitate phenomena. Within the
forty-two minute opening track, a harmonically dense, metallic drone,
which plays about a light pattering of rain from a thunderstorm, imitates
the whirring behavior of an oncoming monsoon. Such moments demonstrate
a fanatically careful control of each element within the acoustic
space, flexible but focused playing: a harmonization between sound,
structure and aura.
Other creeping, insect-like electronics mirror the rhizomatic growth
of plants from a Japanese garden. These strange squeezed notes and
coarse drones sketch a diagram shaded with menace, which draws us
into an environment of beguiling sonorities that are vibrantly alive.
Over the album's lengthy fifty-six minute life span, motifs
do occasionally repeat and particular voices crop up numerous times.
When these field recordings are left on their lonesome, however, the
compositions head perilously close towards a celebration of undisturbed
beauty - the sort of beauty that makes us tired, petulant and almost
too conscious of our own mortality.
Nevertheless, there is activity below the water surface and thankfully
it's not long before such feverish, alien creatures of whirling sound
come to the fore. These extended, tangential noise assaults provide
thrilling discourses, in contrast to such naked field recordings,
expertly highlighting a facility for extended imaginative excursions.
Multiple textures and constantly evolving, novel sounds are abundant,
to the point of overwhelming - though to pick them out one would be
wise to listen through headphones. And while they might seem soporific
at first impression, upon their unfolding it becomes clear that they
express a profound admiration of a life inexhaustible in quantity.
At this point the beautiful cover art provided by Tracey Waldron seems
strangely appropriate. Ozeanische Gefühle nearly sits on par
with Basil Kirchin's landmark Quantum. Its strain is at once
hermetically involuted and epic in its leanings, exerting a curious
pull between enclosed mystery and wide-open sound.