Posts Tagged ‘Time’

ROOM40 – 5th April 2018

Christopher Nosnibor

A single, repetitive beat rings out for what feels like an eternity. With nothing else to focus on, the mind begins to conjure deceptions: is it entirely consistent in tempo and timbre? Or are some beats vaguely out of step by an infinitesimal fraction of second? Are some strikes harder or softer than others? A sparse chord rises up, slowly, then stops abruptly. The beat goes on. Another chord swells…. Repeats, disappearing the same way as the first. Then just as something threatens to build, the beat stops. The notes drift, without form, direction, or guidance. Eventually, just as tension and a certain confusion begins to mount, everything comes together: the rhythmic thud, the strings, the soft ambience and the faint strains feedback, combine to create a resolution. Unsteady, somehow incomplete, but a resolution. And so it is that ‘Neither Flesh not Fleshless’ sets the tone for At the Still Point of the Turning World.

The album takes its title from T.S. Eliot’s ‘Burnt Norton’, the first of his Four Quartets sequence:

IV

Time and the bell have buried the day,

The black cloud carries the sun away.

Will the sunflower turn to us, will the clematis

Stray down, bend to us; tendril and spray

Clutch and cling?

Chill

Fingers of yew be curled

Down on us? After the kingfisher’s wing

Has answered light to light, and is silent, the light is still

At the still point of the turning world.

This collaborative work is preoccupied with time and how we experience it, and the accompanying blurb observes how the two artists were very much working both with and against one another in the creative process – which seems an apt analogy for the human relationship with time itself. On the one hand, it’s simply a concept, and an intangible: and yet we see and feel it, in the short and long terms: there is no escaping time, and no-one ever fought time and emerged triumphant. The still point is but the blink of an eye, and the turning is endless despite its invisibility. These are the irreconcilable and dichotomous tensions which inform the sonic push-and-pull Gama and Fernandes explore and exploit in these compositions, which are simultaneously smooth but turbulent.

‘The Patterns is Movement’ is a slow swell and glide of sombre strings pitched against a desolate but mournfully graceful piano: the form is vague, but there is something rather post-rock about the brooding disquiet. It segues into unsettling, rumbling industrial clanking way off at a distance. The haunting clangs of metal are cold, without comfort. I’m pulled back into the mindset of the worker: the ghosts of heavy labour still haunt the structures of the tertiary industries which now dominate the western world. The final coupling of the sparse and altogether lighter ‘Lucid Stillness’ and ‘Shaft of Sunlight’ pitch the album to a calmer, more redemptive close.

While much of the movement within the compositions on this album is slow, and often somewhat non-linear and marks a trajectory that’s divergent, indirect and non-evolutionary, there is, nevertheless, an indisputable sense of movement that’s perpetual.

AA

Joana Gama   Luís Fernandes – At the Still Point of the Turning World

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Von Archives – VON 023

Christopher Nosnibor

The idea behind the Cordiox from which Ariel Guzik’s album takes its name is a machine which was conceived by the inventor of the radio, Gugliemo Marconi, in a dream just weeks before his death in 1937. He had theorised that sound never dies, but instead emanates and radiates eternally. As such, he believed that every sound ever made still existed in the ether, and that it was theoretically possible to tune into the recordings of every moment in history. The machine Marconi visualised would confirm this theory. Guzik’s Cordiox was conceived as an instrument which crosses portals of time and bridge infinite space, and this album very much encapsulates the enormity of that concept and ambition.

‘Cordiox is a machine, an instrument that communicates through time, vibrates and resonates to its surroundings, creating a response to it, communicating with it. Rather than making an unlistenable riot of noise, Guzik’s recordings here are as much concerned with the enormity of time and space, and the way everything blurs, slows and distorts, reduced to a low hum as its ends move further and further apart.

Creating a slow-motion soundscape of almost incomprehensible enormity, chimes burst like terrestrial gongs, rippling vibrations into the cosmos. The first track is an otherworldly cloud of drifting, turning sound in which time stands still.

Long, low, languorous notes are hang in space for aeons; time stalls as the notes turn imperceptibly for eternity after eternity. The second track continues in the same vein, but works from a broader sonic palette, with elongated drones rising and drifting over the interminable sonic mass. Long, low undulations ripple slowly beneath long, tapering trumpets of fluid tonality. An eerie sonic ooze which hangs in suspension between time and space, it’s the sound of all sound, singing out across infinity.

 

Ariel Guzik - Cordiox