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 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

A Guide For Reason - VII - VIII [Faith Strange - 2011]

Mike Fazio's(of orchestramaxfieldparrish, Gods Of Electricity & solo work)latest project, A Guide for Reason, debuted this very year with a full length CDr titled "I - VI", and now continues with this fascinating 3" disk, "VII - VIII". I was hitherto acquainted with his colorful, dramatic forays into synthscaping as Aera, but the sophisticated exactitude and uniqueness of this disk caught me by surprise. One could say the two projects share a meditative, existential approach to music-making, but in the case of A Guide for Reason, the sound sources utilized by Fazio are completely indiscernable to me, and the music itself several steps closer to 'unclassifiable'.

"The Indirect Communication", a 16 minute track which is the majority of this short disk, is a masterfully captured document of some fantastic (likely imaginary!) object vibrating in the soft wind, in the currents (over silence). The gentle activity continues uneventfully, abating for longer intervals at times, stirring back to life on a whim. The most sudden movements bring crystalline feedback harmonics which quickly bleed away, and swells of motor-like whirrings. The harmonic wake created by the restless object covers a vibrantly consonant tonal spectrum, sketching out glassy apparitions of sublime chords, and the granular, synthetic nature of the textures become apparent. There is a metallic element to the timbre, but no harsh high frequency resonance as is typical of metallic sounds. Rather, these percolated sounds are closer to the round, bassy tones achieved when metal meets water.

 
I was left with a thoughtful, solemn feeling not unlike sitting at home on a quiet rainy day. This is a somewhat subjective impression, but I do believe this music is intended to examine solitude and moments of calm.

 
The other track, which is essentially a 4 minute epilogue, is called "One of These is True. This is True." It enters with a brooding synth drone straight out of an Aera album, revealing the chordal framework behind Fazio's ideas. Trebley crackles of digital distortion mount as the chord swells, until it gives way to droning major key arpeggios which, though obviously created by a synth, retain some of the essence of the first track's organic timbres. Ending this perplexing disk on this more obvious emotional note was, in my opinion, a marvellous idea.

 
What Fazio has achieved here introduces human expression and intentional beauty into the skittering entropy of the sounds of nature... or is it the other way around? Are these processed field recordings or just incredibly organic electronics? It's like hearing a drop of water beat out its irregular, unpredictable patterns, and yet feeling sure that there is a clear, almost poetic message to be understood. Any fan of experimental music possessed of a little patience would do well to check this out.

Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5Rating: 5 out of 5

Josh Landry
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