“Echo’s Verse” is the latest album from r beny and marks his second release on Dauw following on from the stellar “daudade” last year. And, once again, it’s an absolute stunning piece of minimal-electronic music.
“Crushing” opens things with the slow trickle of electric piano sounds. Quietly, the sound of that piano repeating in the background as if on a multi-second delay is introduced in the background. As ever in the world of r beny, sounds bounce around like sunlight skipping along water to create sonic mirrors for his inviting melodies. But even with that refractory melody bouncing around in the background, he takes his time letting the piece live in this particular moment where this main piano melody dominates the piece. At about 1:30, a new sound enters – it’s quieter in the mix, warped as if on an aged cassette – slowly it comes into focus to live alongside the original melody. Then slowly a third melodic strand enters to give the piece steam. It feels like each new melody is a further immersion into particularized universe of sound.
“Felt” opens with what sounds like a child’s toy. Again, sounds have an undulating almost refractory quality, like light reflections where the contrast is exploded so that you can see each particle of light bouncing above the glassy surface of water. As it opens, it feels like those ripples of light bouncing on gentle waves of water could simply be a close-up view of something as small as a pond. But as the piece continues, it grows ever more expensive as if providing context to those opening notes – we were never staring at something as small as a pond, it was a vast ocean waiting to surround us.
Both of the opening pieces feel like experiments where a single source melody and developed into something bigger and more expensive.
“Loma” continues this pattern, opening with a gentle refrain. But slowly we see those refracted sounds becoming hazier and hazier until they become a dark mass that eventually consumes the source melody. By the end of the piece, all that’s left is rapid fire static that sounds like the undulations of cassette real left spin out for infinity, the only sound being the droning rumble of the machine itself at work.
The album drifts into dronier territory for its next two pieces: “if I” picks up in the world of decay but inverts the formula, starting with the hiss of decay before exploding into a universe of sound. “echo’s verse” floats on in a far more subdued, elegiac quality.
Final piece, “And fall, standing alone” returns to the strategy of a single melody anchoring a piece while sounds evolve around and from it.
Each song on “Echo’s Verse ”is like an echo chamber of sorts, where sounds are like a physical force set into motion – melodies slowly transform and morph so that the listener almost feels the progressions before they can actually hear the mechanics of the sounds at play. Across its six pieces, “echo’s verse” is masterclass in minimal electronics. It is a study in its own dualities – it is both an open book with its slow constructions, but a mystery when trying to define it’s mystical allure. But it is that very duality and its welcomed sense of wonder that continues to make each new release from r beny so special.