Boom! Rarely does an album start off with the proverbial bang, but Chrysakis' newest, charting the veritable depths of experimental sound design, most definitely does. Literally, in fact. Adjust your volume controls accordingly, because "Alabaster Tide", though hardly a typical Merzbow exploit, immediately tosses you directly into the maelstrom, like the sacrificial maiden sent hurtling into a volcano's primordial maw, Chrysakis drawing from a pool of circuits bent through analog and digital vises, twisted, congealed, and sent spiraling upward like a great migrating swarm of locusts. That comparison is apt, for Chrysakis foments, from the album title forwards, an ear-stinging music of insectum rarum.
Yes, it's quite the beginning, but at this point we expect nothing less from Aural Terrains' obstreperous honcho, his first for the splendid German label Aufabwegen. Chrysakis has forged a distinctive path through so many differing musics — from angular electroacoustic improv and perilous waters of deep electronics to his own unique strains of post-avant 'anti-jazz' and as-yet-coined 'new things' — that anything he tries his hand at breaches stylistic boundaries so dramatically that others working similar ground are forced to retreat. It's not terribly difficult to understand how Chrysakis achieves this. At the root of his talents is a pronounced understanding of the very dynamics of sound, an acute, if not near-intuitive grasp on how sounds, née their textures, should be placed in the mix for both complementary as well as contrasting reasons, patterned for maximum effect. Returning to the aforementioned "Alabaster Tide', the track is a master-class in textural juxtaposition, from the teeming, abrasive digital thrash of its initial moments, to the corkscrewing effects that mark its eventual winding down, leaving a detritus of sine waves and prismatic filigree in its wake, the unfolding environment Chrysakis nurtures provokes a widescreen imaging of alien morphologies that are awesome to behold.
From there, the dense, ever-changing sonorities rarely take a breath as they constantly mutate. Chrysakis not only revels in the glory of his complex and idiosyncratic creations, he assiduously beckons the listener to embrace the kaleidoscopic wonders therein. Electronic music has long been burdened as an 'extremist' genre whose mechanics wear icily on the ear, framed more for scientific reckoning than the sugary confectionaries favored by the excessively melodic vagaries of 'pop'. Those of us predisposed to experimentalism, synthetic-rendered or not, know otherwise. Chrysakis' adroit touch is that of a painter who chooses the coloration of his hues carefully and daubs them on the canvas with great facility of imagination. His illustrative track titles reflect their phantasmagorical sonic bric-a-brac to a 'T'; "Tortoise Pilgrimage" is as stealthy as its namesake, soft synth pads traversing pungent earth while streaks of rainbow light arc and dance overhead, the titular being finding itself in a landscape dotted with twinkling chimes and gelatinous, drizzling raindrops. The mysteriously coined "Delphic Maxims" brushes through even more unidentifiable flora, as we're buffeted by warm solar winds, foghorn-like tones, electronics mimicking extraterrestrial aurorae, and the kinds of truly unique strata once traversed by the likes of Morton Subotnick and Pauline Oliveros. Elytra is defined as essentially the protective covering of an insect's wings; Chrysakis peels back those coverings to expose the entomological wonders strewn beneath the carapaces, realizing a genre exercise of microscopic marvel.
Comments and Feedback: