Human Nature

Yiorgis Sakellariou
Diapsalmata: A Collection Of Short Works
BELGIUM TANUKI RECORDS #31 CASSETTE (2018)

The worlds of heavy industry and nature merge in this excellent new cassette release from Lithuanian field recorder Yiorgis Sakkellariou. As a PhD-level practitioner, our recorder is adept at capturing sources, but, more importantly, at mixing them into sonic cocktails of the highest potency. Accordingly, his live shows take place in utter darkness, framing the interwoven sounds of leaves, bird song, flies, sirens etc., which flourish in defiance of ruthless factory rhythms consuming the natural environment.

With themes like these it’s no surprise that some sections could pass for one of Rudolf eb.er’s psychoactive studies of decaying matter. Yet in eb.er’s soundworld, these signifiers evoke physical impermanence, while in Sakkellariou’s, bathed in tape hiss and click (also on the download), the recorder is both intruder and element in a dynamic, cyclical environment. In either case, death consciousness permeates the dour but orderly worldview, which is shared by the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard, from whom the title Diapsalmata is borrowed. His collection of short works expounds upon aesthetic and ethical modes of living, and the parallel implies a similarly morose morality within these absorbing soundscapes.

Mark Van Hoen
Invisible Threads
UK TOUCH TO:104 CD (2018)

Maintaining a rate of productivity that has seen upturn in recent years, Mark Van Hoen’s latest is a personable septet of (soft) power ambient pieces – yet nothing so extreme as to warrant exclusion from the pleasantries of Touch labelmates like Biosphere, Hazard, Fennesz, Oren Ambarchi et al., all of whom, granted, know when to motor, but when packaged with a Jon Wozencroft photograph tend to go all pastoral on us. I don’t know whether Van Hoen has that other side to him, but he dutifully tows the party line with this comfy little number.

As Jennifer Hor pointed out some moons back, Touch functions nowadays as a cosy homestead for purveyors of ‘soothing sonic wallpaper’; a damning by faint criticism qualified by her remark that it’s simply not for more adventurous listeners. Those same listeners are not advised to look here unless headed for the sofa. Invisible Threads is an engaging listen for the disengaged listener, week-weary and in need of de-framing. Opener ‘Weathered’ sets the tone with a soft barrage of mildly forceful tones as redolent of natural forces as the blurry cover shots of water and who-knows-what. Crepuscular? Oneiric? Nocturnal? Take your pick. As in our deja vu dreams, we may have been here before.

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