Review of Shoals [12k1060]

Derives (.NET)

A shoal is defined as a a large number of fish swimming together or as a a submerged sandbank visible at low water and refering to the picture on the sleeve of this alBum it’s the second one that wins. Like a sandbank, the four tracks on this album have got indefinite structures, are more evolving objects than conscious and strict compositions.

The genesis of this album comes from an artist residency program at the University of York (UK) Music Research Center where Taylor Deupree was invited. During this time he explored the University’s extensive collection of Javanese and Balinese gamelan instruments with the goal to realize an album using only the collected sounds through an audio loop program he developed.

But soon instead of using the traditional way to play these instruments, he explored instead their limits and flaws, scraping, tapping or even e-bowing, recording himself through the process. That way he made a collection of incidental an unexpected sounds and field recordings, building the elementary basis of Shoals.

This music doesn’t fit for background listening because the focus of this album is blurry, so the quiet of the night is probably the best environment. Shoals is not made to impress or catch your attention too easily. It’s a very abstract record, not prone to interpretation like was his recent record Weather and Worn. The textures have a massive and complex quality and lack of some immediacy. Each of the tracks evolve slow slowly that it’s more like errancies than transformations. It is an extreme record and like with Oren Ambarchi’s albums I need to invest time listening to this music before starting to enjoy it, like a long immersion with decompression chambers before deep-sea diving, and after the trip i still feel like a stranger. – Didier Goudeseune

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