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CD Feature/ Nahvalur: "Aboideau"

img  Tobias

According to Einstein and contemporary physics, time and space are intricately linked and separating them – by means of the mutation of Professor Xavier of the „X-Men“ franchise, which enables him to freeze time, for example  – are forever bound to remain the stuff of dreams, Hollywood and comic books. And yet, the desire for some moments to last forever just will not die. Where science negates the possibility of standing still completely, the arts step in. Composers like William Basinski and Morton Feldman have acoustically expressed the tendency of emotion, mood and ideas to linger rather than develop. Supported by  experiences from meditation, drug experiments and the sensory sensitisation induced by situations of extreme fatigue, dehydration or isolation, they have fueled the notion that the borders between the worlds of material objects and ideas could indeed be porous. This, too, is the recurrent theme of „aboideau“.

Already the opening drone of „roth ramach“ feels like slowly sinking down to the bottom of a swimming pool, lying down on its floor and observing rays of light being broken into undulating shapes high above. All sounds seem distant here, muffled, sourdined, silenced. Likewise, the music flows viscuously and without urgency. Even though there is still movement, it is effectively no longer relevant: Swimmers may drift by, their truncated bodies quietly floating through the blue. But the umbilical cord between the exterior and inside has been severed – you have, so to speak, placed yourself outside of the time current. This equally surprising and stupefying sensation points to two fundamental aspects of the album: The idea of breath as a subjective controller of the arrow of time on the one hand and a shift in perspective from an active agent to an observer.

When the circulation of air is suspended, after all, the individual finds itself in a transitory state, somewhere between waking and sleeping, between life and death. As if to symbolise this concept, „remora“ begins with gale-force winds sweeping a barren landscape, before a towering tone envelopes the listener whole. Immutable, immobile and impenetrable, it just stays there, like a pulsating presence, refusing to change or explain itself. After six minutes, the harmonics gradually fade away, again leaving nothing but the sound of wind. This time, however, it feels less empty and filled with palpable traces of the mysterious visitation. Quarter-of-an-hour „laveer“ is even more demonstrative in its insistence on describing an episode between two breaths, seemingly relying on the same harmonic layers, which may fade out all but completely for a few seconds but keep returning like a consoling beacon, for its entire duration. Only in the final minutes do the timbres break up, revealing a shining beam of light and colour underneath, but by then the listener has already entered a trance of sublime and complete tranquility.

Micronoises and drones are used in such a highly effective way here as to make you forget that have become archetypal and almost cliched elements for this kind of music. The lower end of the spectrum, especially, is of seminal importance, with fields of Bass undulation spanning up arches of comforting resonances and causing your body to vibrate sympathetically. The field recordings, meanwhile, are more of an ambient factor here, mixed all the way into the background, and drawing the audience's full attention to the immersive harmonies. The only exception to this approach is concluding soundscape „pleistocene“, whose vertically and horizontally stacked layers of crackles, scrapings, rustlings and hiss on top of a cavernous void point towards an open future. Even on this more richly orchestrated effort, the freshly founded duo of Alexandre Rito and Matthew Ellis, both of which have already built notable discographies in their respective solo careers, have rid themselves of every unnecessary note. It is their focus on what is truly important which lends „aboideau“ an air of creating a unique cosmos of its own – one, in which space and time may not be as inseparably linked as Einstein would have it.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Nahvalur
Homepage: Mystery Sea

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