Aural Terrains

Once upon a time people used to play Steely Dan albums to test a new set of home speakers [I still do – DW]. Now you can replace Aja with Subterranean Sky, a record conceived from “field recordings, synthesized and acoustic instrumental sounds”. Perhaps Thanos Chrysakis is afraid of calling the fruit of his research “computer music” to avoid being filed away alongside the purveyors of cheap fizzle-and-glitch – if so, given the quantity of engrossing noises coming from my (old) stereo, his reluctance appears wholly justified. The right adjective is metaphysical; there’s no evident reference to styles or past masters, apart from a pinch of Luc Ferrari when adult voices emerge from the kind of fluid hallucination of which the album is packed. The throb of subsonic matter, fluorescent glow of certain ejections and a correct application of the laws of randomness impart a feel of earnestness to the whole work. In addition to his machines, Chrysakis also employs metal percussion, clarinet, guitar and viola in selected episodes, but only the first of these is recognizable, while the others blend in so well with the ever shifting textures that discerning their influence is well nigh impossible. I trust the (de)composer’s will to tell me if those racing cars and crickets were real, or a figment of my imagination.

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