"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Monday, 21 February 2011

Ryan the Haar Stylist

Feeling the low frequency rumble and ‘viscous haar’ (sic) of Sublamp’s In Our Hiding Voice, a pleasingly ear-disorienting set of shadowy floatings through rooms of gloom that sits glowering winsomely at the ambient-noise-drone intersection. LA-living sonician Ryan Connor’s bio offers (in)formative insight: raised by scientist parents living outside of various national parks in New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado, Ryan developed an early fascination with nature and science that influenced his later work as an artist - though not sure how helpful it is to be told “he uses textural sound and images to explore an intuitive and emotional response to sensory data.” Presumably because he's “primarily interested in pre-language experience.” Oooh-kay – that’s fine, you can have the pre- [we do the post- here (dunno anything independent of language, anyway, chief... ’s all mediated, innit)].

girl, calling to an empty house by sublamp

we sleep in a room-shaped hole by sublamp

Anyway, Sublamp’s previous (on Dragon’s Eye, Ahora Eterno, Serac, SEM, Friendly Virus, handily tagged here) had certainly registered the name, but this one, on UK’s own cuddly Hibernate, proves to be far more illuminating, notwithstanding all the ‘viscous haar’ (thanks, boomkat, for the handy new bit of word kit). As well as the boomers, there are a slew of other 'views (Fluid Radio, Static Sound, Future Sequence, and Savaran - collected here) testifying to the 'lamp's sub-stance.

But leave it to the lovable lads at Leeds, Norman Records, to win hearts, if not minds, with typical dry and droll delivery. Assigning IOHV a Norman Records recommendation, Brian* comments: The second track on this is like been immersed into a pothole outside a factory where they're drilling things. A muffled fuzzy rumble, disquieting & deep but not sinister, almost soothing! before going on to clinch the critical deal: There's times during this album I'm thinking along the lines of the recent Thomas Koner re-issues. All ominous, chasm like dark ambiance and foreboding atmospheres. At others though, it's a contact mike taped onto the wheel of a hobo's shopping trolley dragged over waste ground whilst being chased by a slightly miffed hum of discontent. All good stuff!

(*This is the same Brian, BTW, whose idle review remarks were indirectly responsible for a non-OK computer situation involving projectile coffee emission over my work desk; this triggered by an involuntary guffaw at his dark mutterings in response to a new tract of Untitled liminal noise from enviro-dronescape supremo, Francisco Lopez: It's the sound of a scarecrow wolf whistling through chapped lips to a bee in a field a mile away from a busy motorway. As you are probably aware, scarecrows can't whistle (or do anything for that matter) so you get this sound like television interference that goes on forever. If you like to completely befuddle people than this is probably great music for the party that no one turned up to in the world of the dead.)

Anyway, back to Sublamp, who's got it going on quite differently here from previous, departing interestingly from Hibernate house-style without abandoning the building. He refers to having sought something centered around the kind of listening one might engage in whilst hiding from something or someone, perhaps hiding in empty buildings, underground tunnels or dark rooms in abandoned houses… Sounds about right, as most of it gets you straining to scrape up errant pitches and stray chords and assemble them into sequences through a scraggy veil of scuzzed up drones, radiator hum and the crackle of someone's soul.

Cut A Door Where The Walls Meet from ryan connor on Vimeo.

So, yes, in sum, Sublamp’s is a psycho-active pothole well worth peering into, a veritable temporo-spatial tunnel… that’s er… well worth digging. OK, back to pre-language…

Some live footage:

sublamp - betalevel 6/19/10 pt4 from ryan connor on Vimeo.

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