Review of Filaments & Voids [12k1050]

Squid’s Ear (.COM)

Absence is decisive in Filaments & Voids, just as in certain trains of thought it is the immaterial world that supports the material world. Piano chords, processed in various ways, already absent from their own manifestations, appear out of nothing, and form an array of patterns. The piano outlines distant harmonic patterns without ever fully going there, and then breaks off into increasingly evasive particles. A certain stability forms out of these recurring motifs, in the various ways in which they reconstruct essentially the same situation, and the ways in which they splinter the space into ever escalating degrees of subtlety. But they also exude traces of instability, and it’s this ambiguity or mutual co-penetration of these two realms that ensnares one’s attention time and again without fail.

This ambiguity may also be seen in the pace of the pieces: one could very well refer to them as still or calm and, in a sense, they are, but they also brim with movement. It’s simply movement of a markedly abstract and ratiocinative sort, with each work eventually being steered back to its own minutely altered premises near the end. There’s thus no fixed reference point in the works, but they are simultaneously characterized by qualities of immediacy and a certain commitment to the present tense.

An inversion of this process, “June 10, 2008” doesn’t issue from silence but from its definitive absence. The piece is devoid of gaps or fissures, with string instruments sprung from a software program reverberating endlessly. In its linear clarity, the lustrous sound builds a full, phosphorent space that comes across as strangely illusory for want of any symmetrical eruption of alternated moments of sound and silence. As with the album artwork, though the pieces are indeed tranquil, they are all also restless with disappearances whose traces are never entirely gone but experienced here, there, and everywhere. – Max Schaefer

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