UNICORN: PLAYING WITH LIGHT
Enhanced CD: Housepig hpig-001[2004]

Playing With Light
Clay And Fire
Spots
The Sea
Maho Kyoto
Rain (But Not Candy)
Far Away; Close To You

"Playing with light" is the first full length release by W. T. Nelson of Bastard Noise and other projects. He contributed the slow and minimal ‘Sleeper Wave’ track to the intriguing "Six Doors" compilation which I highly rated [read review here].

The 7 tracks on this release fully explore his musical influences and he conjures up a quite heady brew of different musical styles stamped with his own individuality. This crossing of genres isn’t something new, as the Sky Burial release showed [read review here], but done right it makes for a more engrossing experience overall. "Playing with light" touches on sparse, nearly empty sound sculptures, drone work, experimental phases, dark ambience… even slightly avant-garde (ish) in places. With a run time of only 37 minutes he crams as much as possible into such a short time span that it makes me wonder what he’s capable of over a 60+ minute release. The answer lays within him.

A quick dissection of the tracks that these ears of mine heard. 1. ‘Playing with light’…a tinkling melody over sparse subdued electronics which starts all lovey dovey before becoming increasingly sinister. 2. ‘Clay and fire’…a sample takes centre stage over a hissing / crackling ambience accompaniment. 3. ‘Spots’…a repetitive set of notes are hit over a slow growing swell of fuzzy electronics bordering on harsh noise. 4. ‘The Sea’…short and sweet highly amplified drones. 5. ‘Maho Kyoto’…a throbbing swell of electronics and feedback that freaks out near the end. 6. 'Rain (but not candy)’…a track so short its over before it kicks in. The sound of rain hitting off rooftops / windows ended with a foghorn blast to the ears. 7. ‘Far away; close to you’…a haunting refrain atop scrunched up electronics and gently plucked / played melodic notes. There is no outstanding track as all, in their own way, are perfectly executed. Each different from the other and exploring different avenues. I can’t speak for the artist himself but within these pieces I heard artists such as Pere Ubu, Band of Pain, Electroverde, Ontario Blue, Remanence, Contrastate, God Speed you Black Emperor and many others.

The word beautiful is sometimes overused to describe recordings… I use it a lot because I’m very emotional about my music… but here it best describes "Playing with light" as an overall aural experience. I suppose divine, elegant, or even mysterious would also have sufficed although beautiful is the ideal summing up word for this release. A breath taking experience that exceeded expectations.

As a bonus there‘s also included three short Quicktime films by the artist Stephanie Miller. The films are in black & white / colour and slightly grainy giving them an old school charm about them and act as perfect companion pieces to the musical tracks 'Clay and fire', 'Playing with light' and 'The Sea'.

ANM

[Housepig]

Direct Link: http://www.auralpressure.com/review/u/unicorn_playing_with_light.html

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