August Undone

From the very first seconds of “Within/Without,” listeners familiar with the output of Aquarelle, the nom-de-plume of Madison, Wisconsin-based sound artist Ryan Potts, will find themselves in territory that is at once familiar and new. This opening salvo explodes into being with the surging, analog fuzz blooms and preternatural sense of rhythm that endeared many to Sung in Broken Symmetry, his prior Stu- dents of Decay full-length, as well as his sterling contribu- tion to the split LP with Alex Cobb issued via Low Point.

Nestled deep within these writhing guitar drones one hears plaintive piano notes and layered sine waves, an early hint of the notable development of the Aquarelle sound on August Undone. Potts’s compositions are strikingly rich in detail—indeed, a few of the mixes made use of all 64 tracks on his digital audio workstation—however, they never be- come muddy or unfocused, remaining instead truly effer- vescent, full of nuance and subtlety.

“This Is No Monument” recalls the halcyon days of C/ Psi/P-era Birchville Cat Motel, with a massive wall of gui- tar distortion and distant chimes slowly dissolving into cas- cading chords and radiant, microtonal drones. “Clockless Hours,” the stunning closer, features a welcome appear- ance by cellist Brandon Wiarda and brings the album to a lovely and apt de?nouement. In the end, August Undone is a brave step forward by a musician who is never content to rest upon his laurels.

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