The One Who Modifies Time and Light by Matthew Swiezynski


Today I’m listening to NYC filmmaker/sound designer Matthew Swiezynski‘s new release, The One Who Modifies Time and Light on Invisible Birds, the label he founded. Consisting of only two tracks, each running over a half hour, the gestation of crickets or cicadas rise up on the bird represents phases of the work. This album is built on a lovely base of field recordings: natural elements and hushed voices, some caught with tape hiss, others temporal and almost meditative. There’s a moment of rapid drumming (or hard rain?) that has a cartoonish, almost Road Runner doing the samba feel.  Swiezynski is creating a radio play here that acts like a film. He take voices and rapidly edits them, as instruments there are overtones of, say, fellow film/sound collagist Christian Marclay. Along the way motors rotate, winds blow gates, all cleverly muted and stirred by a wealth of ravaging distortions. He calls it: “the recordings are highly memory-annihilated edits of a mediation on the work of Satyajit Ray’s apu trilogy, created initially for Patrick McGinley’s Framework Radio“. I call it simply a flood of inventive sound calculations.

Matthew Swiezynski

I remember when I was a kid people told me not to listen to the Rolling Stones’ Their Satanic Majesties Request and somehow, ever the curious and contrary one, I never did. All these decades later, I’d imagine this could possibly be it. I say that jokingly, but there is so much embedded here, it’s a forensic dream. The second half, reduction, the transmission of light, starts anew with a twinkling near spirit-like atmosphere that slowly blends in the everyday. The CD comes in a handmade packaging (Ed. of 200) with a dark cracked monochromatic graphic. A miniscule edition of eleven includes two original oil drawings on unprimed khadi paper, that may change over time. I love this fact and it reminds me of the attention to detail other labels like The Helen Scarsdale Agency puts into their releases, nice to see those who care about the tangible, tactile nature of how sound can be collected not unlike field recordings themselves. As part/track two continue the drone is shaped in a mid to far Eastern style, reminding me of the native instruments of Morocco or Indonesia. Though a little dark, it’s more reflective than sinister, contemplative of its surroundings, which keep changing, morphing. Perhaps this is evocative of the title’s suggestion, there indeed is a great sense of shifting light here. This half of the recording stays much closer to its center whereas the previous meandered in its free experimentation. Available on CD (above) and via Bandcamp. This is the epitome of deep listening.




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