Thursday, March 15, 2012

3-Way Singles Club #11 Hits the Airwaves! Benoît Pioulard, Brooks Mosher, and Tin Window bring the Atmosphere!

[click the image to be whisked away to another place.]

The eleventh installment of our series picks up a thread that has been dormant since 3-Way Singles Club Vol. 2 way back in June of 2011 – that of transportive ambient sound; consciousness-erasing, mood-altering sonic terrain. In this case it unfolds over the course of nearly a half hour of music, effectively transforming Vol. 11 into a mini-album.

While atmosphere has always had some part in the proceedings at ITAV, here it takes the forefront. These three pieces of music unspool slowly, like old 8mm films of water moving hypnotically and glinting in a mesmerizing, fluid field of movement. The lines are blurred, the polaroids over-exposed. The language isn’t in a common tongue, but it sings of universal frequencies and deep undertows, sine waves and bit damage, somewhere in the backrooms and sub-basements of the psyche.

Tin Window is a fairly new project by Ann Arbor-based Erin Elizabeth, a solo work running parallel to her collaboration with Will Lawson and Jónó Mí Ló, Full Frontal (a.k.a. Fullscreen). Tin Window’s approach to ambience is process-based, a textural affair that uses audio happenstance as much as careful sculpting. In “Frankincense” the grit and grain is the careful twisting of sound sources, and the bell-like clarity of Elizabeth’s voice deep within a shifting mist of overlapping tones and the resulting richly colored synesthesia.

The name Benoît Pioulard is known to listeners of handmade sound, most frequently associated with his albums for Chicago-based label Kranky. Precis, Temper, and Lasted have a dual focus. At least half of the material on each album is Pioulard’s lambent acoustic songwriting amid beds of warm ambience, taped sounds, and layered field recordings. Intermingled with the songs are numerous short-form pieces that explore drone, static, and musique concrète. For “At Least We Were Both Wrong,” he expands the latter idea into a quarter hour piece that sounds like bowed contrabasses deep within the veins of the earth; dark waters moving slowly and even majestically far beneath old, old roots.

Austin, TX-based producer Brooks Mosher is probably best known for movement-inducing techno records on labels like Dolly, Comfortable Records, and Other Heights that reference his Michigan upbringing with touches of house and acid peeking through often intricate mixes. An Eno-esque interest in the potential of ambience has always been present as well, either converging with fluent beats or rising out of the rhythm to lull, lift, or float a listener. “Umbrellas In The Sun” conjures the slow march of the sun across a field of the titular objects, the simple science of shadows casting radiant music on warm sand.

This is speaker music. It’s headphone music. It’s sound works for the pure glory of sound. It’s easy to get lost in this wilderness, and once you surrender you’ll see the incredible amount of detail that underpins this world.

Next month:  Veloura Caywood, Geistlos, and Drinking Mercury!

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