Gintas K and Michelle O’Rourke – Sorry Gold

Posted: 8 January 2023 in Albums
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

10th December 2022

Gintas K wraps up a(nother) truly prodigious year with a collaboration – and an apology. The Lithuanian sound artist hasn’t strayed so far from his experimental electronic roots, at least fundamentally, but at the same time, Sorry Gold does mark something of a substantial and significant departure.

As the accompanying text explains, ‘this recording was made on stage at the Project Arts Center in Dublin, during the making of the film Sorry Gold Emily Aoibheann. The artists improvised to the visual landscape of the rehearsal space, stage design and dancers…’ it was funded by the Arts Council / An Chomhairle Ealaíon and Dublin City Council, supported by Dublin Fringe Festival, add the performances premiered as a part of Dublin Fringe Festival at Project Arts Centre in September 2019.’

With additional production and resigned from the original project, the album is only sort of a soundtrack, and the track numbering is both confusing and frustrating, with #1, #2, #4, #3, being followed by #4 #2, #2 #2, #4 #3 and #3 #2 before the more sequentially logical #5 and #6 conclude this most eclectic listening experience.

Replacing the glitching frenzy of bubbling, frothy digital frenzy that is Gintas K’s trademark is a much sparser, more minimal approach to composition, with single notes that sound like ersatz strings being plucked, atop quivering drones and low-rumbling organ sounds that fliker erratically like gas lights and resonating out into a spacious room. It has an almost orchestral feel, albeit distilled to absolute zero. The notes are a little fuzzy and ring out into emptiness, while the haunting vocals of Michelle O’Rourke are utterly mesmerising and border on transcendental. In combination, the atmosphere is deeply absorbing and heavily imbued with a spiritual, other-worldly element.

The first piece introduces us to a strange, haunting space beyond the familiar, and while it’s not by any means unpleasant, it is disconcerting, and sets the tone, ahead of ‘Sorry Gold #2’, which is melancholic, brooding, spaced-out notes hovering while O’Rourke ventures into almost operatic territories. It’s a not only a different atmosphere, but a different mood when placed alongside K’s other works: it feels a lot more serious, and has a different kind of energy, a different kind of intensity. I’m accustomed to feeling bewildered by the frenetic kineticism and abundant playfulness of his work. Sorry Gold isn’t entirely without joy, but it is much darker and much, much slower-paced, delivering a different kind of intensity.

It’s not until ‘Sorry Gold #4’ that things even hint at K’s more characteristic and overtly electronic noodling, and as the album progresses, we do encounter more of his feverish electronic tendencies, notably on the grinding ripples of ‘Sorry Gold #3’, but they’re much more restrained. ‘#4 #2’ brings a surging swampy wash of noise that’s a buzzing, grinding industrial blast of fizzing distortion. O’Rourke, barely audible in the sonic storm, sounds lost, detached.

Of the ten tracks, only two are under four minutes in length, and the pair use these extended formats to really push outwards: the ten-minute ‘Sorry Gold #4 #3’ brings helicoptering distortion that crashes in waves, at times low and rumbling, at others, crackling and fizzing with treble, and it creates a different kind of disturbance. Dissonance howls desolately on ‘#3 #2’, and so does , wracked with pain and spiritual anguish.

By the time we arrive at the brief and delicate bookend that is ‘Sorry Gold #6’, one feels inexplicably drained. The experience is somewhat akin to wandering ancient tunnels by flickering candlelight, observing ancient wall art while a subliminal mind-control experiment blasts random frequencies directly into your brain. You’re left feeling somehow detached, vaguely bewildered and bereft. And you feel deeply moved. Sorry Gold is special: Sorry Gold is bleak and harrowing, but it’s solid gold.

cover

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