Monday, May 21, 2012

Parashi - Zone of Alienation [Kendra Steiner Editions]

Zone of Alienation is a tasty 3" morsel of Mike Griffin's Parashi project. The title refers to the zone around the Chernobyl nuclear plant--which is suddenly back in vogue--and it indeed does a good job of evoking (what I imagine to be) characteristics of such a place: namely isolation and decay.
No instrumentation is listed in the liners so I'm not sure what's in play but it sounds like at least one if not all three of Griffin's weapons of choice are present: electronics, synth and guitar. Griffin traffics heavily in blips, whirs and buzzes, turning the above-mentioned instruments into cranky mechanizations. The signature of the Parashi project is the controlled production of sound and the resulting aural negative space. After flickering to life, "Corrach" sounds practically like a sped-up field recording of soothing forest rains. Filtered electronic blips drip all over, dampening everything, making the feedback tones quite irritable. They groan, bicker and hack up a collective lung.
"Tauride" is much more subtle and ominous. It shudders and throbs along with the occasional feedback whine locking into a slo-mo groove. It feels like being a night watchmen in an empty factory slowly realizing all the rhythms around you, sitting in near silence but noticing the unheralded spectrum of sound currently in operation. All the drips, scurries and clanks amounting to a miniature symphony.
"Kameraden" has almost a vocal-like wail; injecting a degree of emotion in a barren landscape of electronics. The tones are foraging for survival. The track repeatedly chugs and resides, alternately--throbbing with tremors one moment and sighing with exhaustion the next. Griffin imbues the track with great forward motion which he eventually destroys by setting his signal chain on fire.  
Short, sweet, to the point: the beauty of the 3" CD-r is readily apparent and appreciated with this release.
Gone from the label but perhaps Griffin himself still has copies

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