Here are two space-oriented experimental electro-ambient albums released in October. One follows in November. While each graft rhythmic beats and melodic undulations, the three conceptualize space very differently. Nonlin by Steve Hauschildt (released October 25) conveys a vacuum-effect at odds with nature’s patterned regenerations. Released October 13th, Collecting Space by QST (Frans de Waard) presents mechanized phonics on presence amidst space. Spaces by Todd Barton is an overt conceptualization of cosmic stardust.
Steve Hauschildt | Nonlin
Ghostly International (LP/DL)
In Cloudloss, soft keys and perfected layering open Nonlin by Steve Hauschildt. Within the track there is an arrival and departure of an understated static. The smooth tremolos of the second track Subtractive Skies evolve in granular shifts into a slightly quicker pace. The bent waves of A Planet Left Behind fade with a clear and steady bass melody. These three tracks (in title and structure) convey elements of atmospheres which host their very negations.
Attractor B provides an electro awakening. While it begins with a noted simplicity divergent from the opening trio, what develops within is dynamic electro eventually outlasted by vibraphonic conclusion. The signal modulations that bloom across The Nature Remaining sets listeners up for the more coarse title track, Nonlin. Glitch streaks can’t fully erode the serenity established.
Lia Kohl (also from Chicago) contributes cello sustains in Reverse Culture Music. Swift circuitry melds with the accompanying strings. The trills peaked of reverb emulate a distinctly aquatic hypnosis. I am willing to suspend my disbelief of synesthesia by the eight track where I feel as though I am hearing the flavor of said Chartreuse. Confirmation bias of the ominously titled American Spiral becomes confirmed in the closing discordant ataxia.
QST | Collecting Space
Carpe Sonum Records (CD/DL)
Repetitious grooves serve unique spaces in these numbered explorations. Aside from the parenthetical markings, each of these spaces collect bounce – unspecified of concrete parameters. The dub-house cool glitter I hear throughout this release makes me imagine posh Swedish night club scenes. How counter-intuitive to read that these compositions have been recorded ‘mostly at home, but also in trains, planes, and Stockholm.’
What a listener gathers is that these tracks – titled in non chronological numeric fashion – are QST interpretations of moments, and/or time-place settings. Similar to Nonlin, the first three tracks have a commonality. Here, it is an enthusiastic musical drive. One rides along woozy with chip-tune bliss.
The fourth track, QST75, slows everything down; it focuses the listener towards laser-like patience. This diminishing track manipulates the senses so that when the following QST28 (Twins) pops, the celebratory energy comes rushing back into sway. The thrill-ride syrups after that peak. QST79 is a mellow organ-fueled meditation. Listeners are then again seduced into four-on-the-flood psy-trance during QST58. A mid-tempo QST 67 bridges the first seven tracks into the finale QST 72 (Synphony, Short). In its twelve and a half minute minimalist dub lifespan, this conclusion maximizes the contemplative potential of the experimental electronic ‘rob-bop.’
Todd Barton | spaces
Flag Day Recordings (DL)
“Using Buchla, Hordijk, Metasynth and Stereo Field,” Todd Barton returned to the studio this summer to compose spaces. The record is four tracks of over outer-space themed atmospheres. Initially, listeners are welcomed into Nebula 7.249. This nearly fifteen minute atmospheric blend of grinding guttural groans and prolonged siren tonalities is followed by three Partical Fields (remarked by Roman Numerals I-III).
The layering suits the titular subject matter. Not only are higher frequencies reoccurring visitors in the mix, too, static waves and tiny cricket electronic touches. Very little imagination is needed to transport oneself into the loose gravitational vortexes. The ambient is just NOVA enough. There isn’t any strain towards sci-fi salivatory fantasy. These compositions are grounded in an idea of magnetic croaks that must register with real-world telescopic mics.
Wobbling grey noise is a definitive presence in the Particle Fields triptych. This effect connects the shifting gasses into mediums of loosely structured areas. On a personal note, the release transported my memory to youthful joystick challenges rapt at Atari’s Asteroids. Flag Day Recordings releases this proto-stellar ep in November.