Numbered limited edition 3″ that comes with a 10x15cm photo/poem…
Introspection is not an uncommon theme when it comes to experimental ambient. After all it takes a certain amount of sensitivity to want to write music in this genre anyway, so with this in mind the brief of EP is not unexpected.
“Liminal explores themes of solitude, loss of self and journey towards recovery – an in between where the sense of identity slowly dissolves into new forms.”
It’s worth saying that Pascal achieves what he sets out to do. However, when listening to this work I found it paid dividends to put this personal perspective to one side. In many ways, you don’t need to know about it because the work is more than capable of existing independently.
It’s quite clear, after listening a couple of times, that these four tracks are in fact a single work. This could well be due in part to the use of the techniques used in it’s creation:
“The tracks were developed further by cross-pollination: tiny elements of each track were re-injected into a different track, until each one contained traces of the other”
I’m not sure that I could detect these “tiny elements” as such, but there is a sense of continuity through out that binds the pieces together. The other aspect is that while they often do have a beginning, middle and end the impression you get is that they have always been there. In that way it’s rather like a NASA probe visiting a distant world on a flyby, we get to glimpse a little something of each of these four worlds before we move on. It’s pleasing that Pascal has resisted the temptation to extend the pieces to say 10, 15, or even 20 minuets. In some ways you can imagine that working but as they are, there’s little chance to loose concentration at their current durations.
The EP starts by introducing a simple but dense chord using an organ like sound “Falling Inward”. As the sound hangs in space, different notes drift in and out of focus. The introduction of bass and the high pitched melodic lines complete the harmonic picture. Sonically this is the most pure and minimalist of the pieces, while there is a little crackle at the edges and towards the end of an unknown noise element, it’s essentially note information you’re listening to. This serves the perfect introduction before you are drawn into the more complex soundscapes that follow.
The second track “Reflective Shadow” sets up an environment, which appears to be largely constructed from the sound of wood pigeons cooing, foot steps, possibly on gravel, as well as various knocking sounds. While the pigeons dominate, the tone remains subdued. Similar in style to the organ in the first track, a seventh chord is sustained through out. A little additional dissonance is added in the middle using a pair of opposing semitones. However, it’s the sonic detail that makes this track particularly enjoyable, the use of acoustic instruments jumping out of the mix, something being plucked (piano?), a little run of semitones and even a squeak from an oboe. These events are seldom repeated making them practically unique within the work as a whole.
Track three “Transference”, possibly the darkest, brings back the opposing semitone theme. The upper note is the more subdued to the extent that at times you’re not sure if you are actually imagining it. The relationship between these creates a sense of tension which is never relieved within that piece. It’s also possibly the most environmental of the four, the background is full of various noisy elements, crackle and insect sounds. The whole thing brings to mind being in a field with a black sky just before a storm is about to hit.
A large part of the tension built up in the third track is alleviated in the fourth “Lying/Drifting”. A simple minor harmony dominates this soundscape. A number of rattling sounds as well as the ever present crackle, can be heard in the background, we can only guess at what they might be. It’s also notable that the fourth track returns to the tonal centre of the first giving, to some extent, a sense of return and by extension, completion.
Liminal is both closely related and yet distinct enough to maintain interest throughout, the use of opposing notes either within a minor tonality or as simple semitones is a recurring and binding component within the work. I’d rather not say the over used expression “organic” but there it is. Having said all that, probably the overwhelming impressions are a sense of place and a sense of stasis, the two characteristics which best define successful ambient music. – Fluid Radio
Pascal Savy – Liminal (Limited Edition 3″):
- Item Price: £5.00
- Listed On: March 10, 2012