Bruma by Line Spectrum

Line Spectrum | Bruma
Glacial Movements (CD/DL)

Line Spectrum is the moniker of Ukrainian artist Oleg Puzan, someone who is new to me, but I’m excited to have made the discovery with this new release on the Glacial Movements label.  Constructed from meticulously manipulated field recordings, the five tracks making up Bruma are impressive soundscapes from an accomplished practitioner of the form.

The album begins with the sounds of crashing waves, as A Set of Events at the Shore slowly unfolds.  The fizzing foam of the surf is matched with shuttering white noise, the competing yet complimentary frequencies showing a real attention to detail and deliberate sound placement.  The track adds more layers of roiling drones and other, less easily identified found sounds.  It’s an immediately satisfying piece, setting the stage perfectly.

Fabric Merge follows, with subtle crackling and flickering sounds taking position in an extreme stereo spread, really filling the periphery areas before a low, slow throb of a pulse muscles in and the centre stage becomes full of energetic life.  Again, the finely-tuned field recordings and specific layering is superb here, and as a shuddering loop evolves into proceedings, a dramatic sense of tension is achieved.

Each track length is surgically executed; every duration being truncated to the zero second.  Ways spends its precise running time of 6:00 by panning footsteps between the speakers as something soars overhead.  This track is the first to include the shifting chatter of people, and that human aspect is an important balance in a piece that involves so much abstracted audio.  And as for those very deliberate track lengths:  I find this another satisfying element, as it’s clear the artist made a very conscious decision regarding that.

There is a depth here that I think is missing in a lot of sound collage type ambient music these days, where a sense of joy in those field recordings can be conveyed. Fluidity takes its time in emerging from silence, with microscopic sounds escaping a high pass filter and being allowed into the light. Gradually, water recordings wash over them, first a trickle, but gently the current picks up.  This piece is the most restrained, no overt drama in its duration, and a nice segue into the final part of the album.

The closing track is the longest, clocking in at 15:00, and its title is more than apt.  Quietness starts almost imperceptibly; low frequency rumbles reminiscent of Francisco López’s work steer the track for a couple of minutes before a looping sound appears. Suddenly, a much higher, hissing drone grabs our attention, and otherworldly tones are absorbed into the layers, gathering steam before a final shutdown of lower and lower tones into an inky silence.

Bruma is very slow, very exquisite. This is expertly managed music that has so much detail that it rewards the closest of listening.  I’ve listened to this album multiple times and continue to catch new sounds within its beautifully structured soundscapes.  An absolute must-hear for any fans of field recording-based composition.

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