Music Reviews

The purpose of this page is to provide added exposure to musicians I respect. The bar is set high. To pass Landschaft quality control, the music must be of a quality that meets or surpasses the standard that would secure them a commercial recording release, and/or that I feel an itch to do a Landschaft mix of. I do not review everything they produce - see the band's own websites for complete chronologies - what I review is what I encounter, when I encounter it.

Kymatik: 12 May 2008

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website (distribution): Distibution: Paradigm discs

Metadata: Album review The Paignton Anomaly. Overview: Kymatik are a collaboration / collective for this project comprising Mr McNoughton and Mark Tamea, joint working again after a break of 10 years or so. Both artists are highly accomplished experimentalists pushing the boundaries of sound sculpture (music is rather a limiting descriptor that I have avoided using for this review).

I sit and listen. To The Paignton Anomaly - by candle-light in the late night after the city has fallen silent. The flame connecting me to this complex elemental work, a sublimation of some rare solid into the air.

I ponder the paradox. The work, an evocation of time on the geological scale before culture and the concept of association existed. There is not humour, wit or irony at play here, only a pure distillation of place and time. Postmodernism and referentiality are nowhere to be found and that absence of cultural landmarks bestows on the work a mark of honesty and self-assuredness that defy the conventions of representational art.

The barest of melody acts as a carrier for the edgy glitch work that constellations the two pieces. Raw a-tonal frequencies define a sonic space both complex and economical. The term "minimal" does not quite fit - the sounds are concealed, camouflaged - hiding among each other.

Another listen - appraising from a different perspective. Trying to build a different mental construct, to decode the sonic contours. In a way that a smell can transport one to a sense of time and place. Building associations from experience - by the nature of things, a journey personal to each listener. That is perhaps the way to approach and appreciate this work - each listener will bring their own associations to it. And the sounds will act as catalyst joining and forming the listener-associations, rather than impose a narrative. In this respect, the work is abstract and succeeds on this most rarified level - it is a tool that makes sense of things. Existential in nature, the listener builds his or her own associations, free from artificial cultural constructs - this work recursively builds upon itself.