Wood & Wire…

Elbee – Visions Of Vactrols / Invisible Prism – Innermost Outerspace

With a rave glitterball in the rear view mirror, and beats that initially sound like dot matrix prints on Autechre-circa-“Amber” synth skyscrapers, it would be partially fair to surmise that Elbee’s “Visions Of Vactrols” ain’t going any zany vista. But it does. Spectrally and absorbingly.

The six pieces on this EP all draw from the well worn IDM categorisation’s sound palette, but because of their volition towards random rhythm rallying with excited clusters of notes, the compositions gain advantage of the match between concentric circles and sea-turtle lifespan harmonic structures. It’s an impressive work that stands on its own two feet in electronica terms, but leans further into classical and ambient territory by the time “Zeldomeld”, and its Sigur Ros / Oneohtrix Point Never synthesiser ramp skateboards over itself into the austere violins of closing track “The Indexilarm Dimension”.

The pacing is fittingly blustery and needle-sharp all the while, this applying a diametric balm to the overall sheen of the production, which is nicely DIY but professional at the same time. Violins approach “Requiem For A Dream” for subconscious orchestral inspiration. Whereas with one listen the participant is granted respiration from everyday life.

Next in the spotlighted duo is Invisible Prism’s quirky “Innermost Outerspace”. Much more of a sullen, meditative affair, Ricky Turner aka Invisible Prism from Queensland, AUS resonates with drone greats like Eliane Radigue and Pauline Oliveros. Less minimal on opener “In Search Of Higher Planes” than those artists and Elbee, as if looking for catharsis through murmured action, Turner builds a simple organ drone chord arrangement with higher pitched tones that sound like a Theremin being squeezed dynamically into bubble wrap. At 11 minutes it’s not a conformist slab of longform hum, rather a deviation from the standardised (and subsumed) verse-bridge-chorus of anti-drone. Compelling then, in its use of techniques to sit somewhere transcendental, seeing that repetition is a language of the masses, and deviance a language of the minority.

On the following two companions “oasisao” and “Restructuring Neuro-Electric Geometry” Ricky plays with more narcoleptic drone timbres. The start of the former is a good example of this; a doomy, penetrating gaze from a wolf to a chicken. It gives menace and new life to the release, while slow percussion tremors waft in from the background to provide momentum towards the non-horizontal eye. The vision of yourself and seemingly the creator becomes blurred, sucked into an ultramundane vortex where nothing but formless spirit and non-physical violence persists to stir the mind. The cauldron reaches out to ambient metal circa Mother Room (reviewed on Fluid 117 by me ) and the psychedelic astringency of The Alpha Rhythm (a lesser known ambient jazz and post-rock group from the noughties – do seek out).

There is a revolvent retrospectvity being smashed like a rave-comedown halo here – this music truly sounds like it has a grip on the highest quality drone, the most interesting kind of drone, and rewards repeated listens. You know, you’ve heard that one before. But I wonder if you’ve really heard music quite like this before…?

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