Review of Shoals [12k1060]

Rockarolla (UK)

Taylor Deupree – head of 12k and esteemed minimalist sound artist – uses the University of York gamelan, in conjunction with the Kyma sound processing program and Eventide Eclipse, to great effect here. Shoals opens proceedings beguilingly; warm low tones provide gentle bed, skittering patter and fleeting bleeps sit in the middle of the picture, whilst e-bowed messe di voce ride the top, continuously flowing into the ear in a more tender mirror of Sachiko M’s stark sine tones. An endearing tranquillity pervades the album – echoes of other musicians whose work tends towards the ambient such as Rolf Julius or John Luther Adams recur. “A Fading Found”, for instance, adds to Adams’ unbroken meditations a sense of just-under-the-surface (DSP’d) activity. “Rusted Oak” broods more, bustling away in a darkness of cloaked studio activity and faraway gender drones. The album closes with “Falls Touch Grasses”, a more spare rumination where metallophones are heard both purely and in spectral formation. We are here furthest from the natural realm, orbiting some distant dark Star where bulbs of Deupree’s space drones and a worried, squelchy synth maintain tension right up until the enigmatic close. – Stephen Graham

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