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Dirk Serries: Streams of Consciousness 131106, 130806

img  Tobias Fischer

Some artists have a penchant for grand, sweeping statements, summing up several years of work within a single album. Dirk Serries, meanwhile, has always preferred taking small, incremental steps, documenting his work in a multitude of gradually progressing releases. With the first entries in the Streams of Consciousness series, he has now reached a new plateau, a moment where one phase of work ends, blending into and initiating another. The analogy with painting, always implicit through his hands-on sculpting, shaping and coloring of sound, has become strikingly explicit here: On six expansive twenty-minute canvases, he is working with a minimum amount of timbres, techniques and brushes, confidently applying slender strokes of black, gray and blue water paint like the imaginary Japanese visual artists in Bill Evans's liner notes to Kind of Blue. "These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere", Evans wrote at the time, and while Serries is too much of a ponderer to put his reason to sleep entirely, it is true that he has let go of pre-conceived expectations more completely than ever before here. Rather than moving into a particular direction, these yearning guitar meditations are quietly resting in time, replacing development with ambiance, horizontal movement with space, complexity with intuition. It took William Basinski twenty years to understand that his long loop pieces didn't need any embellishments and with these LPs, Serries appears to have arrived at a similar realisation: The more he is taking away, the richer his music is becoming. His floating webs of interconnected lines shift with the grace of a prism in slow motion, its components repeating, yet never returning to the same point twice. Commentators have noted the calming effect of these compositions, but that impressions depends on your perspective. In the absence of grand, sweeping statements, intricate details keep the attentive observer on the edge of his seat, minute refinement transcending into breathtaking suspense.

By Tobias Fischer

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