Soft Tissue (self-titled): a peep into a subatomic universe of mystery

Soft Tissue, self-titled, United Kingdom, Penultimate Press, ppcs5 cassette (2019)

Soft Tissue is a new sound art collaboration between electronics musicians Feronia Wennborg and Simon Weins, both of whom are based in Glasgow. Weins may already be well-known to TSP readers, having been a member of another duo, the electro-acoustic act Garland. Soft Tissue’s self-titled debut album was issued in December last year on Mark Harwood’s Penultimate Press label in a limited edition of 100 copies and already has sold out. The album’s tracks consist of recordings of everyday objects combined with analogue feedback, blurring the distinction between sounds made and moulded with intent and sounds that occur naturally. According to Penultimate Press, the album explores the relationship between physical objects, pre-recorded material and digital processing composed and performed with micro amplification.

The result is a peep into a fascinating, almost microscopic world of tiny, fragile sounds where the silence that holds them seems as solid and impenetrable as oceans deep down in undersea trenches where tectonic plates dive deep into the earth and the pressures are incredible. Yet the sounds found / created, treated and amplified by the Soft Tissue duo, for all their playful delicacy, not only survive but even thrive and hold their own animated conversations with one another. They flit about, they tease the observer, they dive in and out of invisible wormholes – they may even be living their entire lives, all sped up and compressed into a tight little time dimension where a second experienced by a human is a century in their world – yet after they’re all done and they’ve gone back into their universe, listeners are as much bemused as delighted. How is it that these little beings have managed to evade attention for so long?

The most intriguing track for me is “play”, which appears to be keyboard chords bouncing to and fro between two unseen little entities playing ball. I’m sure with repeated listens, each and every track will reveal something new to those prepared to hear this album on its own terms. The more I listen to it, the more mystery I sense, the more convinced I am that the actual sounds I hear are just the tip of a proverbial vast iceberg of soundscapes that Soft Tissue’s experiments have tapped into.

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