In their first collaboration as a duo Portlander Marcus Fischer & Cambridge UK’s Simon Scott (Slowdive), both releasing separately on 12K, come together to Shape Memory. Out on June 1st in a CD edition of 500 as well as digitally via Bandcamp the two compose three tracks from tapes, cymbals, guitar and various electronics with a running time of just over a half hour. Ferns has a bit of an out-jazz live rehearsal session feel at first, though I would rarely ever see either of their past work in this context. It’s likely both their use of cymbal as musically central here. The tinier the percussion the more effective the track becomes, as these fine tendrils tie the jangle and hum together nicely.
To simply say this meanders would shortchange its impact as a sonic reflecting pool with its circular waves ranging from its center. Their use of electric bell tones mixes well with the slumped string strum and drum drone. Towards the end it sounds as though tape is being spooled by pulling as if by hand, rather than machine – an effect depicted on the record’s simple coverart. There’s really no break between the tracks Ferns and Thorns. The emotive layering continues to glisten in a vaguely shamanistic space.
Tranquil and light-infused the wee harmonies dangle as if time has been slackened. They are in no hurry toward conclusion, it’s definitely a floating midpoint. That is until the very end of the track when Branches starts to form. Again, an immaculate transition – this truly is an extended long-player mastered by Taylor Deupree. The micro tonal migrations start to remove any prior excess, clear the air, and structurally begin to undulate anew. The mix very slowly becomes a bit denser, as if time-lapsed in duration. Is it a sweet camouflage bathed in ambient light, or are the duo orchestrating the growth process by cutting out the middle-man (aka Mother Nature)? My guess is they are employing a multi-textured, astute reverence to the spirit of Natura as their own gift to our senses. Thank you.