Sound Awakener & Linear Bells :: Belonging to the Infinity (Soft)

Motionless as the dead, writhing with memory.

Sound Awakener & Linear Bells :: Belonging to the Infinity (Soft)

Nguyễn Hồng Nhung forces me to pay close attention to her career as it unfolds—each new thing she does as Sound Awakener (recording since the late ’00s but only releasing for the first time last year) is more interesting than the last. David Teboul has already commanded my full attention for a while now, both as Linear Bells and curator of the artisanal French ambient label Soft.

The duo come “Drifting Together” for the first time, but this is no turbulence-free ride. The air is roughly textured – cat-tonguey, crinkly—which is not atypical for Sound Awakener. Her music is unmistakably ambient, but she often slyly undermines its mollifying effect with reminders of the imperfect asymmetry of the world. It shifts its subtle muscle and erodes the ostensibly solid earth underfoot on “I’m Anything I’m Everything,” as Teboul’s skittish cello actually serves to calm the nerves. A cicada-like whirr opens “Lullaby,” and when joined by cello drone, it masses into the perfect mid-album raga. “Luna” continues in the same, juddering spirit, but waftier, loftier.

The prominence of strings is a key element in Belonging to the Infinity and “The Invention of Wire-Wrapped Strings” puts a lot of what poses as “modern classical” to shame. A stroke on the piano, a looped, lilting semi-melody, a dark sky that occasionally lets a shaft of sunlight through, makes “Post Modern Structuralism” the ambient tour-de-force we may have been waiting for. It calls to mind the strange attraction ruins exercise on us, those modern, industrial ruins romanticized as much as the aristocracy of the 18th century romanticized Greco-Roman ones. Motionless as the dead, writhing with memory.

Belonging to the Infinity is available on Soft.

TAGS: , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.