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CD Feature/ Description Without Place: "Filaments"

img  Tobias

James McDougall and Anthony Paul Kerby here summon a dark, restless album, full of suspended amorphous masses of synthetic sound and plain melodic motifs eddying in a charged, reverberant space. Often it is as if one were trapped in the undergrowth of a glacial garden where some tiny creature just out of sight is gasping its last breath - a garden of delights where blurred memory and desiccated loneliness watch their own breath.   

There is a vibrant range of textures for solitary dashes of keyboard and shuddering details to coil around. "Sunday Morning" spins a spare, loosely threaded soundscape of sleek synths, with moaning, distorted textures and delicate electronic fingers shifting time. "Physical World", on the other hand, has harmonic overtones and icy atmospherics integrate the quavering, bubbling misfocus of digital sound. All of this is underpinned with a mellifluous melody, at once alone and strangely placid, stirring the intricacy of the piece with a sense of play.

The impression given is that the duo constantly take stock of their work and then diversify. After the porcelain and delicately played lattices of the first couple of works, "Nostalgia" exudes a more abrasive feel, one of unresolved conflict, full of mystery, before a brief piano refrain spills across the the whiter-than-white noise of its night sky.  

While the work does generally dwell as a gelid, twinkling landscape of mystery, bevy of field recordings - insectoid scrabbling, wind howling, floor creaking - interlace and invade the long shadows of these instrumental patterns, rendering them more immediate, personal, transient. Conjoined with the textures, everywhere so rich and deep, and I soon want to pass my hand over them, feel them rippling beneath my fingers, sensual and suggestive. 

By Max Schaefer

Homepage: Dataobscura

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