Transparency and intensity; ethereality and density: these are the qualities that make me associate the music of “Folds” with some sort of cosmic phenomenon, like solar winds or gamma ray bursts. Just listen to it: hurtling, shimmering streams of light, crackling with energy; gusting breezes of dust; wavefronts thrumming with electricity; billowing wind and swirling static; clouds of noise and ringing, glimmering sweeps. Ambient chords form the basis of it, but these chords are alive with energy, with all manner of clicking, clanging, scraping, whirring, buzzing particles in highly excited states, emitting showers of photons as they hurtle at lightspeed through the dark.
Chris Herbert will be well-known to readers of these pages for his excellent solo releases such as Constants and Katushki. Elías Merino also has a substantial discography under his own name and under the aliases Nuhg and GurBruo; his audiovisual installations have appeared in a number of exhibitions and festivals. Together they make music as Ogive, a word which has many far-ranging meanings related to aerodynamics, architecture, and statistics. “Folds” is their first collaborative release, and their respective contributions meld so seamlessly that it’s pretty much impossible to tell where one ends and the other begins, surging as a single wave or weatherfront fizzing with static. There’s a certain luminous density to the chords that is identifiably Herbert’s, yet the energy and movement of these five pieces is hard to trace back to any individual gesture.
The most intense tracks are the opening ‘Dehiscence’ and closing ‘Superhabitat’, the latter of which consists of a single rushing, gleaming chord that follows the rolling contours of a vast, slowly changing landscape. Yet even during more subdued moments, such as the deep rumble and oscillating fuzz of ‘Refractaise’, chaos still churns beneath the surface. It’s as if listening to “Folds” was a way of experiencing events of great power and intensity, happening very far away — in space and in time, perhaps. Maybe that’s another reason why I find it so easy to associate with the cosmological, the astronomical, the billion suns blazing in a distant corner of the sky.