Shasta Cults | Configurations
Important Records (CD/DL)
Electric frequencies as tones, tones as some hypnotic sorcery, Configurations is seriously plugged-in, swelling, buchla drone. This record marks the end of the first decade of intermittent work released from Shasta Cults (Canadian synthesizer tech Richard Smith). Part of this reminds me of slow moving clouds parting to make way for the sunlight. The synth dips undulate with no resistance. And as elegant as it may seem at first listen, if you stop what you are doing to focus more deeply it’s as though a ginormous freighter is whisking at a razor’s edge distance.
Towards the midpoint of these eight tracks the long stretch becomes increasingly more mesmerizing, tranquil, but edgy, with wavy synths, and an atmosphere of obfuscation. Somehow the space you may be sitting, standing or otherwise find yourself in, feels as though it’s being stretched like silly putty in every which direction (like one of those surreal amusement park funhouses). It’s part vibration, part dreamy choral cloud clusters and choral cadences.
As a score/composition this is closer to a dappled and super wet watercolor than a blazing slick thickly modeled abstract, in this light it recedes more than it plays to the light on the surface – but in fact, it rides along that thin edge, slowly sinking, and turning. For Once, for instance, feels out to sea, fluid in almost every regard (hey, I’ve lived on both US coasts and my dad was a longshoreman, I’ve spent much time by the edge of the Earth). The ending has a romantic sense of remoteness, as if looking back at a memoir, or at the horizonline as it moves towards dusk. So gently this warm melody takes us back to the (our) beginning(s).