Just released this month is the 180 gram LP (+ Digital) Lines by Distant Animals (Daniel Alexander Hignell) on Swiss label Hallow Ground, this one is mastered by sound artist Lawrence English. One lengthy track per side, starting with A Pure Drone. That’s exactly what it is. It’s dense and makes my entire office quiver in a rumbling resonance. Hignell has been involved in film scoring so its easy to say that though the drill down depths of this track is atonal and shaped by white noise, the shaping itself is down to a science. It’s like an aural tractor reaping airspace.
The artist intends for the work to interrelate in a social/political fashion, as he’s involved in a doctorate in the subject. Detached from that, as a sound work alone, one wouldn’t necessarily hear that woven in contextually – however, with the associated a/v work there would likely be a unique pairing. It’s also interesting to think a work like this can stand alone otherwise, as a separate entity. Using a a modular synthesizer he’s managed to bow frequencies quite interestingly, especially as you move to the b-side where Line Made By Walking, perhaps a nod to performance artist Richard Long who created a work with this title in the mid 60’s. Here he’s incorporated a good balance of new static to the already curvaceous drone, and other actions or movements that seem to generate a sweet subverted hiss. There are now interesting lows that reveal hazy beep signals. The shift from raw drone gives the ear an opportunity to indulge in deeper active listening. And suddenly a string comes loose like the chime of a massive city square clocktower. And from here a sonic channel has been unlocked as a wave of layers slowly enters, perhaps countless vocal samples and field recordings atop each other, with a coordinated tolling of the bell, it’s a mad fluid rush.
The final four minutes are a bit of a bliss-out on experimental tonal shifts in punctuated equilibrium. It’s a garden of earthly delights, yet this garden is in an alternate dimension – so most is sideways. The intensity softens into a flyaway harmony at the very end, putting the listener back upright for future offerings. This is for those who dig passionately impressionistic, far-out electronics.