Marcus Fischer and The OO-Ray – Tessellations
Posted In: Marcus Fischer, Nathan Thomas, Optic Echo, Tessellations, The OO-Ray
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Collaboration: the theory goes that two people working together can achieve much more than they could on their own, but often this turns out not to be the case, not entirely. The working methods of one collaborator imposes limits on the other, shutting down some potential avenues of development while leaving others open. At the same time, collaboration can free participants to explore new directions without worrying so much about how it may be compared to their previous solo efforts, diffused agency blunting the edges of self-consciousness, however slightly. And so the end result is no more or less substantial than work done alone, though always inevitably different.
“Tessellations” is a new collaborative release from Marcus Fischer and The OO-Ray, otherwise known as Ted Laderas. Somewhat sleepy and languid in feel, the album leaves impressions as strongly emotive and yet intangible as a dream. “Coldspring” has a moody, late-night atmosphere to it, the hush both warmly lulling and potentially sinister; “Bokeh” makes use of a plodding cello bassline to carry the listener on a walk through a resonant percussion-inflected memoryscape. Much of the dreaminess is due to Laderas’ sonorous cello, doused with a generous dose of reverb, waves rolling somewhere between surge and drift. Mostly absent is the sharpness of perception, the here-now-hear that characterised previous Fischer ventures and made me like them so much, but such an approach wouldn’t have fitted the collaboration well at all, and Fischer wisely sticks to lighter touches that embellish or merge with the cello washes rather than disrupt them.
The loops used by the artists were apparently allowed to run unsynchronised, creating patterns that weave in and out of each other, multiple layered temporalities that no doubt also contribute to the dreamlike effect. “Tessellations” is a record that is probably best enjoyed late at night, not because it is gloomy in its tone, but because it seems to mirror that state of drifting in and out of sleep, even as the loops drift in and out of time with each other. And by ‘record’, I mean the real deal – the album is released as a 12” vinyl LP limited to 250 copies, with a recycled cardboard sleeve and artwork by Fischer. I’m officially format agnostic, but with this release I can see the attraction of physically putting the record on, sometime in the wee hours, and watching it spin on the plate like the reel of an old 16mm projector, lights flickering.
- Nathan Thomas for Fluid Radio