Guy Birkin – Symmetry-Breaking
Posted In: Adam Williams, Guy Birkin, Guy Birkin - Symmetry-Breaking, RunningOnAir Records, Symmetry-Breaking
Comments: No Responses
“These philosophers, whose hands seem only made to dabble in dirt, and their eyes to pore over the microscope or crucible, have indeed performed miracles. They penetrate into the recesses of nature and show how she works in her hiding-places. They ascend into the heavens; they have discovered how the blood circulates, and the nature of the air we breathe. They have acquired new and almost unlimited powers; they can command the thunders of heaven, mimic the earthquake, and even mock the invisible world with its own shadows”
Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus
Symmetry-Breaking is the debut full-length release from Nottingham based sound and visual artist Guy Birkin. With a background spent in scientific research, Birkin seems to bring some element of these academic pursuits to this creative output and it is the coming together of his dual interests which makes for a compelling listening experience.
Made available in a run of 100 physical copies, Symmetry-Breaking is offered on two CD’s, the first comprising the album proper with additional download also available. The second CD is a unique special edition of the album, with three tracks rendered specifically for this purpose alone. This untypical approach for an artist to make on a debut release indeed hints at what it is that makes Symmetry-Breaking so unique; Birkin’s analytical methods and his more creative spirit combine with the former proving the perfect environment for the latter to roam free.
Symmetry-Breaking opens with the two minute long Fourier-Gabor and Birkin performs deep, droning synth lines which are broken up by melodies so distorted as to be close to the point of destruction. Continuing onward in this vein with Bass Drone 6c, the artist now offers a piece which, while anchored with deep bass tones, is at times faltering and fragile, the result evocative. Following these opening original numbers, Birkin then presents his own interpretation of Arvo Part’s Spiegel im Spiegel, translated here as Mirror In The Mirror. This is again another unexpected move for a less established artist to tackle such a loved classic but Birkin does so with ease and produces a piece which while undoubtedly indebted to Part, overcomes this to be something else, something uniquely the Nottingham man’s own.
As Symmetry-Breaking continues onward, the artist shows a desire to keep on innovating and he manages to fit in much variation in the remaining tracks, at differing points within the spectrum of ambient music. Gravity’s Rainbow for instance is a more freeform number with floating ambience comprised from thick synth lines. In Symmetry-Breaking, Guy Birkin announces himself as that which is ever more rare; an artist who has found a niche, a sound and a style entirely his own – and in a music genre which shuns commercial ambitions in favour of art and self-expression, isn’t that the whole point?
Symmetry-Breaking is available now from RunningOnAir Records.
- Adam Williams for Fluid Radio