Above the Hidden Track an Endless Blaze
13 tracks: 48:19
Having reviewed many Aural Terrains releases I have yet to be disappointed. The overall output of this label is characterised by quality, depth and variety and here we have another fine album.
Above the Hidden Track an Endless Blaze is a solo offering by Thanos Chrysakis, a mixed bag of finely honed sound sources – percussion, largely tuned and metal, electronically generated timbres and textures, concrete sources, hints of voice and field recordings, all tightly composed but retaining a sense of improvisation in their conception. My guess would be that the material is improvised as a generating strategy prior to selection, editing, transformation and composition. The complexity of the mixes, at times a pullulating and wobbly coalescence, is counterbalanced by moments of profound stasis. The prominence and the treatment of the metallophones breaks through like a gamelan orchestra seen/listened through a kaleidoscope. Of course I’m making assumptions about the sources – these could be synthesised sounds though there seems to be a clear distinction between instrumental figures, gestures, accompaniment, and strictly computer generated sounds.
I should give an idea of the variety on offer because it’s this range and depth that lends the music its freshness as the sounds merge and contrast. Within this variety each track converges on a choice of primary sound sources. For example we have the bleeps and buzzes of synthesised music clashing with overtly melodic arpeggios, these shining with the crystalline properties of struck metal.
On another we hear granulated sounds alongside and on top of field recordings. The intention leans less towards an investigation of tension but more towards concordance between digital, obviously processed sounds, and the sounds of acoustic instruments. Many try this combination but few can do it as consistently well as Chrysakis.
More generic forms are referenced in tracks which explore what I’d call a gentle industrial feeling, manifesting control and restraint rather than outright mayhem.
Finally, Chrysakis doesn’t shy away from periodic and metric percussive patterns. These reinforce the sense of someone actually playing the music, which combats the feeling of sterility sometimes found in over-produced studio albums.
I’d recommend this album at once to anyone who enjoys new experimental and finely crafted music, music of this era and thoroughly relevant in an overcrowded marketplace.