Young / Martin

A Pulse Passes from Hand to Hand

An easy Saturday light fades in, surrounding the music of sound artist Jeremy Young and cellist Aaron Martin. You wake up resting on a snug, pillow-soft layer of ambiance, made all the more pleasant by the lightly golden tape loop that shines in through the window and replaces the Sun with its vapours of ambient. A Pulse Passes from Hand to Hand; the warm glow passes from the Sun and falls upon us. It’s a gift. The watery sound of the piano passes easily through the white fluffy clouds that carry the developing ambient tone; from sky to land, from hand to hand.

A single tape loop of a short piano composition is then built upon, stone by stone, accompanied by atmospheric textures, clean, shimmering guitars, higher notes that dapple the loop with the tranquil light of early morning and cool cello phrases that cast shadows over the swathes of suburbia. The loop is cemented into the music, and this lets everything else slowly approach and fully explore their environment without any fear of it all collapsing. They have the kind of unabashed freedom that improvisation so often permits; it can never be dulled or diluted. The cello fades in early on, and the notes glisten in the burning amber of the light. The dynamics of the cello rise to a point of no return, concealing the loop with its thick, leathery texture as it wraps itself around the piano, Boa-style. At this point, the piano can only weakly glint, but it doesn’t take long for everything else to fade away, and it quickly becomes clear that the piano is the one with the staying power; the alpha and the omega.

The piano sits resolutely, but the wobbling, minimal electronics twirl in the air, like the casual descent of an autumn leaf. It’s the beginning of a season, set to music. The pulse of the music passes from the artist to the listener in a never ending cycle. While the loops inevitably repeat and do not in the slightest way vary, the cello is always hovering around, and her melodic pathways push the music forward; it’s never held back by the loop. Talking of loops, the piano is a fragile sound; it could be torn apart by anything, but it never is. Vaguely melancholic, but swimming in a lake of cherished memories, the piano’s recurring phrase sedates the music. No more is this the case than on ‘Bercaux’, where the loop softly ripples. There’s a natural beauty to the music. You can imagine pine-scented trees and waterfalls drenched in a spray of white foam. Sometimes, the piano is left alone; left to hang in the black, still hour. It eventually drifts dreamily into a blurred tone as its notes drip onto the ground. A cello starts to emerge, all the while cocooned and protected by the familiar gaze of the loop. The piano loses its harder edges. They finally melt away, but its melody still lingers in the form of echoes and its pulse can still be felt.

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