RSS feed RSS Twitter Twitter Facebook Facebook 15 Questions 15 Questions

CD Feature/ Taiga Remains: "Descend from Ivory Cliffs"

img  Tobias
One of the traits I thoroughly enjoy about the contemporary scene for sound art is the playful juxtaposition of different schools, diverging approaches and strands of development. Which is why someone like Alec Cobb can act as head of the Students of Decay label while establishing himself as a prolific solo artist and dote on the beauty of early ambient compositions while working on strikingly similar sonics from a 21st century perspective.

To be sure, there are quite a few factors contributing to a “classic” feeling with regards to “Descend from Ivory Cliffs”: Its serene and smoothed-out surface, its regal movement, its tonal and timbral purity, its pristinely linear logic, its unfettered progression leading up to an unforced release, its sense of balance, harmony and beauty. Using nothing but his guitar and some effects, Cobb weaves a golden honeycomb of soft spectral somatics from nothing but solemnly gyrating tonal pulses. As the music unfolds from a deep, calm and resting embrace into a more inwardly turbulent and complex organism, he initiates an intergalactic sunrise, with rays of subdued distortion breaking through, burning its skin in an ardent burst of red, yellow and orange light.

Quite literally, there are few real suprises to this EP, its development dictated by a clear and linear transition from warm, earthly timbres into hot, radiating colours, from anticipation to fulfillment, from abstraction to concretion and from silence to a loudly glowing supernova. On the other hand, how many releases can claim to provide the listener with exacly what he wanted? Cobb is not looking for sensations, he is searching for exactness and the sense of elation that comes with realising a sound, idea or vision in your head with the greatest possible immediacy.

He also uses hints and suggestions in a highly effective way. As his drone expands, streaks of ghost tones appear, tonal sighs that beam across the horizon in a hopeless search for a melodic arch. In marketing, underpromising and overdelivering is considered the ideal method of pleasing a customer, but Cobb’s sweet promises are always close enough to a full-fledged deliverance in their own right. The restraint he exercises in the final minutes, when the track seems to steer towards an ear-deafening acme, but instead opts to gradually build into a silken sheet of sound even feels more powerful than if he’d gone out and set all hell loose.

Waterscape owner Martin Fuhs was extremely proud of being able to release “Descend from the Ivory Cliffs”, a feat which now sounds all the more plausible: if the 50 copies of this as always strictly limited release fall into the right hands, it might herald a minor breakthrough for Taiga Remains in Europe, where it is still a fairly obscure project. Rightly so: For these 23 minutes of music are a statement that transcendends the limitations of a single genre or community and, in its diversity, turns into an archetypical statement for the contemporary sound art scene.

By Tobias Fischer

Homepage: Taiga Remains
Homepage: Waterscape Records

Related articles

CD Feature/ Luis Orias Diz: "Acrílicos en la Sonrisa" & "Kammermusik"
A soloist, team player, accompanyist, ...
LP Feature/ Esther Venrooy: "The Spiral Staircase"
Sounds with a personality: A ...
CD Feature/ Aranos: "Koryak Mistress stakes Golden Sky"
A shifting body of sound: ...
CD Feature/ Lars Akerlund: "Ur/Volt"
Nonmusical associations: Dance as the ...
15 Questions to Yann Novak
The story of Yann Novak ...
CD Feature/ Jed Speare: "Sound Works 1982-1987"
Music and pure sound: Speare ...
CD Feature/ Aidan Baker & Jakob Thiesen: "A Bout de Souffle"
Tiring, grandiose and captivating: Improvisational ...
CD Feature/ Light of Shipwreck: "Through The Bilge Lies A Calm And Bloodless Sea"
A lively call-and-response scenario: The ...
CD Feature/ True Colour of Blood: "The Cave of Knowledge"
Uses elements of structure to ...
CD Feature/ Paul Bradley: "Cede"
Beyond words: Waves of quietude ...
15 Questions to Seconds in Formaldehyde
At the beginning of 2007, ...
CD Feature/ Seconds in Formaldehyde: "Construct"
Hitting new nerves: Fuhs is ...

Partner sites