Review of Wayfinding [12k2047]

Fluid Audio (UK)

Canadian electronic musician Christopher Bissonnette’s Wayfinding is a further evolution of his sound. On his sixth studio album, Bissonnette substitutes his synth-based sounds for electronic and acoustic sources. Field recordings are inserted and interwoven with Wayfinding’s vaporous drones to produce a cool, misty atmosphere. Melodically introspective and harmonically translucent, Wayfinding zooms in on the minute and the minuscule, studying the domestic landscape of home and ‘transforming the banality and insignificance of the familial interior into expansive vistas and bucolic panoramas’, where the mundane is transformed and viewed through new eyes, the old and the familiar becoming a glowing source of new light.

Wayfinding’s drones are adept at filling the atmosphere with appreciation and wonder. The melodies dot the music like drops of rain, feeling like a Biosphere track as they fall through the lo-fi atmosphere, lightly gracing the air as they fall from above. The entire record revolves around the atmosphere, making Wayfinding an elemental record, its core tuned into the frequencies of weather patterns and oscillating drones. Melodies are able to shine with a surprising ferocity, glinting with force but still being gentle enough to warm the skin. As it slowly creeps into and influences its surroundings, Bissonnette’s music paints reality with its series of thin drones.

The sounds are constantly changing and evolving, much like Bissonnette’s own output over the years, and although the drones move at a languid pace, the melodies surrounding them are always on-the-go, moving from one point of light to another; as one lights up, its predecessor winks out of existence. Temperatures vary, too, as a frosty touch is allowed to linger over a couple of its eight soundscapes, lifting the music up and into a cooler flow of air, while at other times a glowing drone positively oozes with warmth and light, as if it were catching a warmer current. Although the music drifts, it isn’t completely directionless, and Bissonnette steers the music through the air, descending lower to ground level with the sound of chirping birds and other earthy sounds, but never completely touching down. Instead, Wayfinding is a record that constantly hovers over its quiet country.

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