Review of In The Lens [12k1086]

Foreign Accents (US)

For In the LensAustralian electro-acoustic duo Solo Andata (Kane Ikin and Paul Fiocco) threw all preoccupation with idiom and mode to the wind to create the sort of more open-ended, slowly-unfurling exploratory work rife with mystery and empty of easy resolution that you can always expect from Taylor Deupree’s 12k. This is the pair’s third appearance on the label, after all (for Ikin, this is the fourth time on 12k).

Look at what their output independent of one another, and you’ll see that both of these guys offer a deeply textural and idiosyncratic take on experimental music; in the case of Ikin, this takes the form of sinuous, crackling, vaguely-techno-influenced soundscapes (see his 2009 near masterpiece Sublunar, and his fine new full-length for Type Modern Pressure), while for Fiocco it manifests as chilly minimalist compositions based on acoustic timbres (check his sole full-length, the excellent Torsions and Drifts, for Meupe). Put them together and interesting stuff results. Six years ago, on Ritual, their collaboration took the form of tenebrous and eerie collages of drones, vinyl hiss, and acoustic textures. But now, on In the Lenswe’re greeted far more airy and loosely-structured.

Obscure acoustic tinkerings, lo-fi field recordings, and relaxed indoor recording-area ambience root vague expressions from guitars and percussive instruments in a sense of the personal, the micro-scale. It’s a humid summer evening and the air around you is thick with the chirps of crickets, the sky with glimpses of swifts and bats. This is the kind of nostalgic feeling pieces like “Separate Lovers” and “Leaden Sky” evoke. The pieces were in fact constructed in large part from forgotten threads, recordings made in a wide variety of environments. It took me a bit to warm up to the album because it is so different from what I appreciate and  have come to expect from these two artists both independently and together. However, this is definitely one that grows on you fast. Another great contribution to the modern electro-acoustic/ambient scene from a label that really brings out the best in its community– humbleness organically finding singular moments of beauty.

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