Review of Filaments & Voids [12k1050]

Touching Extremes (IT)

Perhaps the lot’s finest is Filaments & Voids by Kenneth Kirschner, a 2-CD set that explores the alternance of sound and stillness quite thoroughly, placing several important inputs in the fundamental nature of the conscious listener. Kirschner, an artist living in New York, seized these glimpses of infinity between 1996 and 2008, all but one characterized by the “appearances” of silent segments linking disparate kinds of secretion. Despite the consistency of the basic notion all the way through, the discs are different in terms of sonority. The first contains three pieces, the character of two of them nearer to ambient/space territories – admittedly with a higher degree of intensity – with a particular mention for the unforgettable “October 19, 2006”, a succession of intangible coronas of indistinct harmonics whose impact on our sense of perception is immediate and truly awe-inspiring, especially if listened in utter peace at 5:30 AM as per my customary approach with this kind of material. “June 10, 2008” is the only selection where the resonance is continuous, recalling string-based aural sculptures – picture a bionic replica of Ellen Fullman – yet entirely generated by a computer’s virtual timbres. The second disc comprises a single 72-minute contemplation: “March 16, 2006”, also intriguingly beautiful, derives from re-recorded piano phrases – halfway through transcendence and homesickness – on an iPod with a cheap microphone, occasionally garnished with muted echoes of urban traffic and various types of hoarse murmur and grainy noise. The result is an odd combination of Eno, Basinski and Asher, eliciting memories of pale yellow lights at night in a thick fog, insubstantial misconceptions of melody gradually turning into a disheartening chronic condition of vulnerability.

View Release