Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Seven Vowels of Nature - Vol. I and E [Sacred Phrases]

I reviewed a tape by Kevin Salyers a while back under his Streetworker moniker. It was prickly but pleasant drone stuff and now he's back with a different name The Seven Vowels of Nature... wait, A, E, I, O, U, sometimes Y. 7? What the fuck's the seventh?
These sounds are a lot smoother than Streetwalker's but it doesn't quite resign itself to the euphoric side of things. On "I," deep, round, slowly undulating waves are met with a distant delayed siren. Less sullen, pulsing keyboards fill in the middle and the track is untied and set adrift. It doesn't give away too much, keeping his cards close to his chest, Salyers establishes polyphony without clearly delineating one sound too much from the other, and all the while somehow avoiding murkiness. Definitely a balancing act, and well balanced at that.
"E" reminds me a little more of Salyers's Streetwork; a buzzier, slightly metallic tone trembles away mostly dominating the track and a few other static synth tones act as foils. Eventually a watery synthesizer wins out, stealing the spotlight for a short solo bit. The piece of the side, is very similar. Maybe a second take on the same idea? Salyers seems to be working with the same set of sounds but the pace seems to be a bit quicker. Tones glisten with an intently minimalist style. The piece isn't so much minimalist in sound as in composition. Salyers can't be using more than a handful notes here. The sounds harmonize but never make the full transition into melodies.
Overall, the music is perhaps a little too ephemeral for its own good as it doesn't really stick in the memory long but its a well put-together and pleasant 20 minutes.
The tape is available from Sacred Phrases in an edition of 48 copies.

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