Friendship is a kind of music that plays in stereo on a two-way street. When two people sync up with each other, it’s a honey-sweet harmony in the making. Shape Memory brings together two friends, Marcus Fischer and Simon Scott, who also happen to be label mates on 12k.
Last Autumn, on a day off from one of Slowdive’s American tour dates (Scott being the drummer in the band), the pair managed to record Shape Memory at S1, The Synth Library, which is located on the West Coast, up in Portland, Oregon. Time was short, but time loses all meaning when listening to the music, which displays both integrity and professionalism, because Shape Memory feels anything but rushed.
Cymbals and chimes add sweet touches of percussion as a processed guitar drones out, rattling uneasily like a faltering electrical fence and thrumming like a loose cable. Something is stirring; those wild, unpredictable sounds are quite the opposite of the underlying drone.
The percussion tickles the surface of a steady, droning guitar, helping to shape it. Eventually, a thin melody emerges, helping to further sculpt the easy-going waves of sound while enabling an atmosphere of deepening serenity. The three tracks – ‘Ferns’, ‘Thorns’, and ‘Branches’ – all segue into each other, and while they contain subtle differences, they are essentially one and the same, sharing an encapsulated ecosystem.
Its benign exercising, which barely produces a trickle of sweat on the back of its shirt, is passive and wholly ambient; the music walks on, but it’s completely relaxed, like a chilled thought at 3am. It’s all the more remarkable that the album was recorded on a single day. Other sounds begin to emerge, and these help to diversify the record. Overall, the music keeps on flowing, going steady, two friends passing the time, sharing music.