Posts Tagged ‘Detail’

Crónica – 26th April 20222

Christopher Nosnibor

Having seen various videos of Gintas K’s improvisations, involving a keyboard and a dusty old Lenovo ThinkPad running some custom software, it’s apparent that his approach to composition is nothing if not unusual, and it’s matched by the results.

His Crónica debut, Lengvai / 60 x one minute audio colours of 2kHz sound was sixteen years ago, and his return to the label is a very different offering, although as has been a common factor throughout his career, Lėti – Lithuanian for slow – consists of comparatively short pieces – and here, the majority are four minutes long or less. Less is more, and what’s more, Gintas K invariably manages to pack more into a couple of minutes than many artists do in half an hour. Here, we have a set of eleven short pieces ‘created from recording and improvising in studio followed by extensive mixing and editing using software.’ There’s no more detail than that: some artists accompany their releases with essays explaining the creative process and the algorithms of the software and so on, but Gintas K simply leaves the music for the listener to engage with and to ponder.

Where Lėti is something of a departure is in the emphasis on the editing and mixing of the material and the fact that, as the title suggests, the arrangements are a little more sedate. The signature crackles and pops, chines and static are all present and correct, but there’s a sense of deliberation as we’re led through ethereal planes of delicate chimes and tinkling tones that resonate and hang in the air, drifting in open expanses, with time and space to reverberate and slowly decay. With this more measured feel, melodies become more apparent, with simple motifs, repeated, giving ‘Hallucination’ a sense of structure and, I suppose you might actually say ‘tune’.

It isn’t that Gintas’ works lack tunefulness as such, but that any tune is surrounded by froth and extranea, and so much is going on it’s often hard to miss. Listening to Lėti is a fairly calm, even soothing experience, at least for the most part, conjuring a mood of reflection, of contemplation. The album’s longest piece, the seven-minute ‘Various’ brings a dense wave of sound that surges and swells slowly like a turning tide. There’s almost a stately grandeur to it, but then, there’s a rattling kind of a buzz that’s something of a distraction, and a glitch that nags away and seems to accelerate. These little headfucks are quintessential Gintas K, and Lėti isn’t all soft and sweet: ‘Savage’ brings thick, fuzzing distortion and discomfort.

The flurries of sound, the babble of bubbling bleeps and bloops that are his standard fare are slowed to sparse, irregular drips in a cave on ‘Variation’, and the application of reverb is impressively nuanced, to the point that the reverbs almost become music in their own right. ‘Atmosphere’ and ‘Ambient’ are appropriately titled, while ‘Nice Pomp’ would comfortably serve as a soundtrack to a slow-motion film of a moon landing or somesuch, and again none of the pieces are without depth or detail, as the layers and slivers of sound that intersect create so much more than mere surface.

Lėti is a genuinely pleasant and pleasurable listening experience, but is most certainly isn’t straightforward or simple in what it delivers. There are many sonic nuggets to unearth, and so many tones and textures along the way, that what is, superficially ‘less’ is, in actual fact, a whole lot more.

AA

Crónica185_front

Anticipating Nowhere Records – 24th September 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

With the colossal five-volume ‘Isolation and Rejection’ lockdown compilation series and the one-off final final FINAL Front&Follow project, the compilation You Can Never Leave released in June, the eternally restless Justin Watson can put his label to bed and resume work with his current musical vehicle, the collective who operate as The Incidental Crack to deliver album number two. After all, it has been more than three months since second album Municipal Music.

The three – Justin Watson, Rob Spencer and Simon Proffitt – are still yet to meet, and their third album, like its predecessors, took form with ‘them exchanging field recordings, samples and random noise between Manchester, Wigan and North Wales’.

As the liner notes recount, ‘Detail contains within three new long-form pieces and a couple of shorter ones filling in the gaps. The adage goes that the devil is in the detail, and Detail brings exactly what the title promises, with the first composition, ‘We Might Bump Into each Other’ beginning with some muffled dialogue and an ominous hum, then hums, bubbles and slurps against a backdrop of echoic reverberations, before ‘Fish Dance Tank Track’ marks a shift in style, with more defined beats – an insistent bass bump occupies a different space from the glitchy fluttering woodpecker-type stammers and stuttering hi-hats which all make for something quite complex beneath the drifting drones and quavering hums. It’s an interesting and complex composition that brings together elements of ambient and minimal techno, and as birdsong flutters in toward the end, the piece takes on new aspects that juxtapose nature and artifice.

That the grating looping throb of the six-and-a-half minute ‘Waterfalls Per Capita’ should be considered a gap-filler is a matter of context, and it comes after the harrowing dark ambient collage of ‘I Lost It’, that is by no means a comfortable or easy listen.

The seventeen-minute ‘Morning Tram’ combines field recordings where the original source remains clear, but with subtle but insistent beats, and it’s perhaps there – the finale – that everything comes together. Fragmented samples and snippets of dialogue collide with tumbling trees and slow-turning washes of ambience to create remarkable depth. Passengers pass on and off, engines rumble past, there is endless chatter and a wall of extraneous sound. Assimilating it all may be difficult, but it’s rewarding. The beat is almost subliminal, but it’s relentlessly insistent and registers almost subliminally as the sound swells and voiced clamour and congeal among a rising tide of horns and other momentous sounds. And then it stops, abruptly.

It may be short in terms of tracks, but Detail has substantial depth – and much detail, all of which is very much worth exploring.

The Incidental Crack - Detail (cover)