Tomas Phillips + Marihiko Hara :: Prosa (Tench)

The composers both deal in the absence of sound as much as they want to bring forth the sense of viscerality of what it’s like to pierce and prod through that top layer.

Tomas Phillips + Marihiko Hara 'Prosa'

[Listen | Purchase] Broken into two movements and eight parts this lovely collection of short pieces read more like a ballet than a traditional electronic album. At first we are treated to Hara’s abstract piano, plucked strings and slow-mo fragments of sounds, lovely in their discordance. Prosa is well-paced, finding a common ground between two composers from Japan and the United States volleying with signatures that are as elegant as they are obscure. If you appreciate the apparitions of meter and timing you will find this recording akin to veiled mathematics.

There’s a sensual top layer of modern classical beaming slowly atop of grid like structure twisting at a frozen rate. It’s a constant quiet dance, uplifting and slightly uneasy. Watery sounds shape the background, flowing as minimalist digital fallout mimics nature in a coquettish way. The second half is slightly more diluted, or is it just the tension of tease? The crispy sounds of cracked vinyl, or distant fireworks loom in and out, grounding the recording with a sense of distance. During one interval the pitch shifts reminding the listener that this is no mere ambient record, yet favors to play decoy with the surface structures throughout. The composers both deal in the absence of sound as much as they want to bring forth the sense of viscerality of whats it’s like to pierce and prod through that top layer. With all its breathiness and bravado the most striking bit comes about midway during “Prosa II iii.” It just opens up, slows down, becoming rather dissonant and like butoh, layering elongated silences with some quivering aftermath.

Prosa is out now on Tench. [Listen | Purchase]

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