"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Saturday, 28 April 2012

No Place like Rhizome

There’s no thinning at the front or diminishing presence in the surface of Pascal Savy’s Receding, despite the title, and for all the fancy philo-: Savy speaks of  'some psychological and existential questions which I try to convey below the surface of music,' which is all fine and chin-strokingly brow-furrowingly dandy, but is there not perhaps a hint of more to hum in the bathtub than previously? Last there was Liminal (view from here elsewhere), before there was Fragments, before that The Silent Watcher. Now, Twisted Tree Line, 3” CD-r + postcard ltd. ed. series sister to Somehow, subject of a still-warm LMYE mini-profile), brings a noise manicured by a more sonically savvy Savy.

pascal savy - throughout [from the EP 'receding']

Previous Pascal

pascal savy - lying drifting [from the EP 'liminal']

And previouser

Oblique by Pascal Savy

Receding seems, if not a move forward, then certainly a shift in articulation for Savy, with a sleight of hand that makes accessible more, and chewier (albeit dissolving), harmonic tidbits from out of the sonic soup. This is space music – in the sense of being about creation of a space - evidently gradually self-revelatory in process, a kind of psycho-active inner-outer topography, realized through symbolism and abstraction (so Savy says). Smells like semiotic spirit! (the eponymous receding perhaps referring to an organic-inorganic, nature-artifice, physical-spiritual… binary shift? A certain ceding, rather than a recession? Dunno - you decide…). It uses a couple of piano samples recorded in a disused windmill, but the piano isn’t really there. It’s a removed piano, an ex-klavier, a ghost johanna… bereft of life, floating in pianoid limbo (note: after recording, piano parts processed, deconstructed and partially removed, leaving an “empty shell” where notes one resonated, haunted by traces of their former incarnation… y’know, all that decay and disintegration jazz). In effect the recording operates as a sonic illusion, the notes heard in erasure, seeping in the interstices - between tracks, or the folds and rhizomes of the whorls and wooze around them. Plucked and bowed guitar, processed sine waves, FM synth, a self-oscillating analogue filter, a turntable, monome and handheld recorder with found sounds from a French church and Kew Gardens complete the audio-arsenal, each piece all a-fizz with shimmers and shards manoeuvred over nocturnal hum, odd reversals and pitchshifts, sundry crepitus, fremitus, and susurrus.

For the record, the compositional process behind it was informed by conversations about the concept of rhizome, phase differentiation and deterritorialization (so we're told). Holy Deleuze & Guattari, Batman! I don’t know much about Mille Plateaux (apart from this lot), but I know what I like! And I do know that Receding interestingly occupies that zone of ambiguity inhabited by musical works managing the feat of being at once bleak and comfy, uneasy and alluring. Nniiiiiice!

Last word to the artist: ‘In my view, this music is like an illusion, a play with reality so the piece can potentially act as a gateway towards different form of realities or a new relationship with consciousness.’

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