eRikm – Transfall

This is a magnificent album and those who think that ambient electronica / musique concrète is a dry intellectual medium, think again.

 

 

http://www.room40.org

 

An incredible work, crashing and splitting about the listener’s ears, Transfall is made up of 6 brilliant sonic collages that veer very much into musique concrète territory but also nod towards a spacey ambience not that far removed from Radiophonic Workshop or Studio G stuff.

 

The 21 minute long Austral is a bravura piece - composed it seems entirely of grumbling, crumbling noises compressed together in an almighty sonic straight jacket. At times it sounds like the slow smashing and grinding of ice shelves. It is romantic too, no mere exercise in sound, and this is music that sets the sense alight and aflame with its contrasts and subtle changes of direction. The last three minutes are tense but beautiful, presided over by a mournful violin and keyboard promptings.

 

Following all the emotion in Austral, Batfox presents a different view. The track sounds like its name, sultry, nocturnal and predatory. The hiss and minute clicks and whirrs dominate and bring a queasy kind of relief after the opening track’s mental high jumps. Klein Surface runs with this quietness, its obsession with minutiae is brilliantly expressed in that you can very well imagine yourself listening to the recorded noise of a CD player’s motor at times… Pavlova builds slowly towards an arid landscape strewn with metallic debris and strange bird noises. Soon a shimmering pulsating noise fights it out with thick keyboard stabs and alien computer noises and a thrumming sub-rhythm. It’s incredibly paranoid stuff that suddenly finds balm with a beautiful and rich synth wash: a magnificent piece of music.

 

Sossusvlei and Ursprung follow a similar sonic gestation process to that of Pavlova; first a slow but increasingly pressurised build up through atonal noises, then a release - though this time the tessellate effects of the multitudinous clicks and taps offer a more gradual relaxation. Again it could all be used as the sound effects for a sci fi film, but this is no background music. As elsewhere on Transfall there is no real space between sound and listener, meaning the experience is head on, sensual and not one to be able to offset by any visual barrier. Take eth shards of sound thrown up by the drill sample on Ursprung

 

This is a magnificent album and those who think that ambient electronica / musique concrète is a dry intellectual medium, think again.