Archive for June, 2011

Perspectives are like assholes…

Posted in music with tags , , on June 8, 2011 by Tanner

Syndromes Temporary Perspectives Organized Music From Thessaloniki

I’ve been sitting on Syndromes’ (made up of Kostis Kilymis) Temporary Perspectives album on his own Organized Music from Thessaloniki label, playing it often, but waiting for it to fully take hold, to open itself to some wider digression of thought than, “Well, jeez, this sure does sound real nice.” And while my subsequent thoughts haven’t strayed too far from this initial estimation the thing has flowered a bit.

At the very least I think I’ve figured out the best way to play it — loudly with few distractions, allowing the first high tensile sine tones of the first track, “Less Surface Noise,” to crack the enamel of your teeth all the while high mass distortions, pops and crackles begin to swell and reverberate through your sticky subcutaneous tissues, forming eddies against your stomach lining. This album can often sound like all the mistakes your body has made fighting against time, a piano wire cutting through a mass of twisting visceral chunks committed to audio, as meshed in the down and dirty of an infected audio cochlear nerve as any funereal death metal pig squeal. And while the stuttering electronic hoo ha, buzzing filters of found sound, and deft placement of space/silence hook it up to the EAI IV, Temporary Perspectives seems far more constructed than anything improvised. It also sounds far more bodily oriented and dare I say organic than the antiseptic glow of so much of that nebulous genre. It spits and stumbles, cutting out entirely in places only to lurch back into frame again in shadow, in scuffling feet, fastened into a disorienting mass. This can seem overly worried over, as though Kilymis wasn’t sure exactly where to stop in places, adding a slight tinge of over seasoning. But when it has moments of such spectacular nuance it’s hard to get too bent out of shape.

And “Part 2 (my voice),” is the most dynamic and powerful on Temporary Perspectives, a plunge through an elongated moment of dental morass: front row and center for a blasting out of infected pulp, smelling the burn of tooth enamel and soft palate salivary gush. Yes, yes, easy now, I don’t want to paint some post grad art student body hate picture here, as though it’s all dentist drill whirs and Michael Gira groaning pretty nothings about skin disease in your ear. In an enlightening interview by Tobias Fischer about Temporary Perspectives, Kilymis states,

The emphasis is on the auditory experience, being a listener and how we place ourselves inside the listening experience, how this affects our senses and ultimately, in some brief moments, how we perceive our surroundings.

Let’s not forget that these pieces are, as is written in the sleeve, “4 studies in human perception,” and if I fall too readily into the idea that this is all some play on the sound intersecting the body, the body through time, the drivel of random misfiring functions — what the hell does it say about me? Maybe it’s my own issue that the listening experience of Temporary Perspectives elicits an auditory Fantastic Voyage through the mucous membranes, of charting rapids along a bony shell. It seems to succeed in this challenge of the listeners perception and question its malleability, although one wonders if ones time is better spent musing on these questions as simply listening, as on, “Much Remains to be Broken,” it’s so easy to just stop and play in the angular planes of slow tones that work around the room, reflecting from walls, stopping dead against the carpet. A beautiful, er, study that seems to weave a delicate track through the inner ear, which makes sense when Kilymis continues in the interview,

The whole album has a linear progression – it is like a story, and each part of the story builds on the previous one. Its different parts are taking different angles – perspectives – in reading what is going on.

While I can see that this idea of a linear progression in an album as abstract as this one as an easy, and possibly cynical out from any real discussion, “Much remains to be broken,” does feel like a further of events through it’s eventual dissolution of tunneling muffled sounds, that again shift in emphasis, reinforcing the feeling that you are indeed following something. Just what that something is could be entirely left up to you. And while I can’t completely shake the feeling that this is indeed just another aspect of some sort of inner space, if not in the sounds of hormone cascade, then somewhere emotional and hermetic — it’s seems rather novel sitting here with some cheerios.

And less I put too much emphasis on the inward, Kilymis spackles the album with outside sounds of traffic, voices, echoed footfalls as if to let the outside in. But these seem to only reinforce further disorientation for the listener, of letting the “different parts,” take, “different angles.” But of course, this begins to seem troublesome after a while — this idea that it’s all some discourse on perspectives of listening. Because once you unload the language of “temporary perspectives,” and “studies in human perception” I wonder if that isn’t what most music is about already, these temporary perspectives. Aren’t all pieces of music or audio by definition studies in human perception? Few musicians seem to want to point this out as much as Kilymis, however, and it’s an interesting experience. Even if sometimes I think the overall effect can be far greater when you just let your mind run around in the sounds, and not be too taken with questions of how you are listening, or what it all means, or if you should be doing anything at all. Nothing is wrong with you, guys, just sit down and listen. As Temporary Perspectives is an often twisting, peculiar and fascinating album, one that has obviously been painstakingly shaped into an impressive whole. I can’t relegate it to some dark corner of my swollen shelves. It begs for further inspection and some drunken contemplation nights like these. And yes, it sure does sound real nice.

Organized Music From Thessaloniki