Can You Prove I Was Born

California’s Shuttle358, aka Dan Abrams, returns on the highly original and respectable 12k imprint. Can You Prove I Was Born is a dreamy aurora that jets out a faint, ambient light, the kind that constantly glows in and out of focus. The loops are well acquainted with peaceful interludes, and they emerge out of a light that shimmers sporadically, ghosting through the glowing, analogue-based spools of tape. They are then ready to be ushered out into the world beyond. As is the case with analogue sound, the tones are softly cushioned. They’re nice and warm, supple in their smoothly curved shape, and they hold onto an authentic, ambient sound.

‘Imaginary Other’ slowly coalesces into a flexible drone. The emergence of an acoustic guitar at first provides some support for the drone, but then, halfway through the track, the two very different sounds switch places, leaving the drone to play a secondary role as the clear, strange intervals casually twirl and dangle. The heavy, obscured rumble of the drone is at odds with the crisp sound of the guitar. The plucked strings repeatedly come into land, diving onto loops saturated with honey. Rocky electronic notes jitter around in what is the only unstable part of the record, but they soon settle down, floating on currents of soft, balmy air. Subtlety is the key here; nothing’s ever blade-sharp, and at no time is anything forced upon the listener. On the surface the music borders on the minimal, but, as with all of 12k’s releases, there’s actually a lot of variety; the music is at its strongest in a still space, and with repeated, intense listens. Sure, every track has its own, distinct loop that could on any other day push it into minimal territory, but there’s enough diversity to push minimalism out of sight.

Phantom notes lay around, awaiting discovery. For instance, on ‘Burrowed Vows’ the tone of the music remains deeply rooted in the sediment-scattered bedrock, and the tone remains clogged and blocked. Just like the previous drones, the sound remains muddy and closed, glinting only occasionally with the promise of something pure. And it’s an absolutely gorgeous sound. The ambient strings of ‘Bent And Swallowed And Opened’ surge and fall in a soupy rhythm, once again providing some diversity. ‘A Ground Without A Figure’ reintroduces a wavy, colourful band of synth, brought in on a bright radio frequency. The lighter voices that call out of the final track ’10 Years Later’ trickle into that same, soupy drone. They slide around, never seeming to find a landing site; they could glide around all day if they wanted to.

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