Review of In A Place Of Such Graceful Shapes [12k2021]

Silent Ballet (.COM)

Frustrated with the limitations of remote collaboration, Marcus Fischer and Taylor Deupree met in New York in February this year to bring a greater intimacy and immediacy to their artistic output. The project flourished into four days of music-making and photography, inspired by the Hudson River’s snow-caked surroundings and ultimately thriving on the point of musical connection that was discovered and expanded upon during their time together. <i>In a Place of Such Graceful Shapes</i> is the unmistakable sound of collaboration in real time: not a compromise between two worlds but a world in its own right, handcrafted by the two contributors as they gradually fused into a creative whole.

Even if just for the duration of its playing time, <i>In a Place of Such Graceful Shapes</i> brings a sense of futility to collaboration conducted in any other manner. It thrives off a warmth of connection that’s only truly achievable once the partakers are fully acquainted, to the point at which creative instinct is married. There’s none of that tentativeness that arises as two untrusting strangers extend their feelers out of their respective cocoons – Deupree and Fischer are already there, and their sonic conversation takes place without one artist needing to lay out a glaring dynamic narrative for the other to follow.

This 50-minute piece sounds as though it was formed from an assembly of objects, with only the gentlest wafts of winter breeze and tilts of axis instigating the motion that causes the contact between them. Murmurs of synthesizer, guitar and woodwind are nestled between these delicately ruffled clangs and scrapes (from bells, wood blocks, vinyl crackles), as the sonic landscape stirs ever so slightly, like a sway of barren branches from somewhere behind a haze of spotlessly white snow. It brings to mind a sort of moving postcard, both for its atmospheric stasis and its encapsulation of a singular moment and place.

<i>In a Place of Such Graceful Shapes</i> is a masterclass in subtlety. It’s percussive without a rhythm, possessing more of a sporadic clatter reminiscent of wind chimes. It’s gorgeously harmonious without settling too deeply into a root tone, hovering over a C-major chord but always resisting an explicit resolve. The piece may be founded on gentle brushes and knocks of contact, but the artistic chemistry between its players is explosive and incredibly intense.

The pair have clearly reached a stage where even tiny, implicative words can spell out the grandest of sentences. The softness of <i>In A Place Of Such Graceful Shapes</i> stems not from an unwillingness to speak, but from the ability to communicate so much with barely an exhalation of breath.

-Jack Chuter

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