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CD Feature/ Rapoon: "Time Frost"

img  Tobias

Robin Storey mainly regards his work as „soundtracks“. Hardly ever has this become as obvious as on this occasion. Admittedly, he has included a continous narrative on previous albums, referenced his music to Twin Peaks and Lynch and seen his work included in documentaries. And yet, all of these efforts covered only partial aspects of a fully fledged soundtrack. So, while „Time Frost“ still does not accompany any actual movie, the fact that it follows a virtual script and bases on the score of an alltime cinematic classic makes its proximity to the visual arts all apparent.

The outline of the story behind the album is something of a still, a thought or a snow-covered slide. Guided by meteorological predictions of a new ice age in Europe, Storey conjures up a vision of endless white plains covering the green fields of Ireland, of huge icicles hanging from the Tour d'Eiffel, of meandering glacial formations encapsulating the epicentres of western civilisation in the urban conglomerates of the big metropoles. He dreams of memories and music frozen in the cold, waiting to be rediscovered by generations of future scientist. What will they make of these foscillised artifacts? What would they feel when digging up a piece like Strauss' „The Blue Danube“?

These are the questions at the heart of „Time Frost“ and it  is important to keep them in mind, because Robin Storey adjusts his techniques to the red thread of this imaginary situation. For sample material, he uses snippets from the Strauss' rendition taken from the soundtrack to Kubrick's „2001“. In accordance with the idea of these musical memories slumbering in the permafrost, he imagines them as running through repetitive cycles and of developping a consciousness in a state between life and death by looping themselves in perpetual motion. Everything on this album is subsequently self-referential, except its initial quote. The first twenty minutes even consist of nothing but variations on a theme composed of a major second, running through filter modulations and melting with slightly out of phase echoes of itself.

As far as musical minimalism goes, the album certainly represents one of the more extreme cases of the past months. Still, there is always something going on. Storey morphs his theme continously, lends a rhythmical component to it on „A Darkness of Snow“ and a pulseless groove on „Thin Light“, changing its functionality from Leitmotiv to introduction and conclusion in the over half an hour long acme „Ice Whispers“. In the body of the latter track, he smeers out the formants of the tiny phrase to thick, clustered drones, which hover on the polar sky statically and majestically. Against all expectations, with each cycle its original message gets lost more and more in an opaque mist of meanings. Storey does not use repetition to create recognion and stay locked in the past – he uses it to forge a new identity and to focus on the present.

And then, of course, the thematic concentration also destilles all emotions into a single, all-encompassing mood of solitude and isolation. As the temperature drops, the senses switch to a dormant mode, in which all outward movement is substituted by the slow charging of chemical impulses in the brain. The eyes close and pictures float by like yellowed photographs drifting on a sea of blackness. Strong images in a musical world of loneliness – Robin Storey has written a  soundtrack which needs no movie to be visual.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Rapoon at MySpace
Homepage: Glacial Movements Records

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