Multi-instrumentalist Chrysakis, via his Aural Terrains label and his band of erstwhile collaborators, has managed, year after year, to carve out a singular catalog amongst the nebulous genre of electroacoustic improvisation, by way of an experimental approach that prides itself on wild abandon masquerading as compositional rigor. This is a complex way of stating that Chrysakis and his numerous cohorts by now seem to work with near-telepathic abilities, able to effortlessly meld ideas and execution into a virtually seamless form that feels meticulously plotted out beforehand. The very act of 'improvising', whether utilizing tools acoustic, electronic, or hybridized, can sometimes have a garbage-can-down-the-stairs effect; noise and clatter being erected with little or no foundational underpinning, noise for noise's sake, communication between players nonexistent. Anyone can bang two objects together in a room and proudly proclaim it 'art', pleased with their kneejerk outbursts; whether or not the results can be classified as listenable, let alone 'music', is another matter altogether. Over a library of profound depth and substance, Chrysakis regularly proves that talent, imagination, and proficiency rule the day.
On this duo recording with clarinetist Chris Cundy, the Aural Terrains head honcho has at his disposal a seemingly endless supply of sounds coaxed from purely electronic devices, including laptop computer, synths, and a mysterious sound source listed as 'copicat tape echo'. Cundy's arsenal of instruments, in addition to clarinet, comprise a megaphone, zither, the ubiquitously coined 'objects' and some means of digital processor simply dubbed 'voice changer'. The sounds both artists devise, mark out, sculpt, and shape blur aesthetic boundaries to the point where only occasionally can individual components be recognized (Cundy's zither and megaphone are particularly apparent on the wonderfully oscillating "Part II"), but the integration of their sensibilities is the very bedrock informing these sometimes coarse, sometimes acrid, yet tonally-arresting compositions. On "Part III", Chrysakis ushers in Cundy's elaborate squawks and guttural exhortations with a series of Louis & Bebe Barron-esque blurbs and burbles, coating the radioactive landscape Cundy navigates with gleeful, exploratory broad strokes. At a bit over the three-and-a-half minute mark, Chrysakis dares to introduce what appears to be liquifying beats into the proceedings, but Cundy's wry playing doesn't let them develop beyond a few short baby steps; on an ever-developing, ever-morphing template, this is music that is restless by nature, the artists' aware that stasis boxes in their torrential flow of ideas, both keen on realizing substance rather than mere affect.
Surely what makes the appliqué of electronic instruments so important into a matrix such as this is the musicians's desire to revel in a world of unexperienced sound. Chrysakis has long realized this modus operandi as a matter of principle. In the company of the complimentary Cundy, his digital striations and lambent waveforms achieve an almost spiritual liftoff, something remarkably rare in the usually cold, distilled air of artificial aural environments. That the duo bridge the gap between emotionalism and intellectualism speaks volumes about their collective savvy, and of the utterly immersive nature of this consistently fascinating recording.
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