Organ of Corti - Auris - NF127 - CD - New Forces 2022
Organ of Corti combines the efforts of three titans within the world of noise and experimental sound: Mattias Gustafson, (Altar of Flies, Barstool Mountain) Dan Johansson (Sewer Election) and Joachim Nordwall (iDEAL Recordings). The tracks presented are extremely rich and full bodied. The arrangement of these sounds feels extremely precise, with every tone & texture free to inhabit its own sonic space. Each artist has taken great care that they do not interrupt the statements of their peers. There are some collaborations which strongly delineate the performers, where it is apparent to the listener who contributed what sounds. This is not the case with Auris [note: I did not read the credits for the release until after I had listened through it for the first time]. Organ of Corti has assembled a very fluid set of recordings. Cluttering, sputtering, & dragging textures dance over top warm and aloof drone passages. Squealing sounds worm their way to the forefront before sinking back into the mixture. Buzzing and whirring tones sigh and wheeze urgently, pining for the ear’s attention.
There are strong tonal qualities present throughout this release, perhaps even melodic in their own way. This is not a moment where one’s mind can simply divide the “ambient” or "tonal" sounds from the “harsh” or “rough” textures, rather all of the different components have a great deal of space to breathe & for interplay between them to develop. This allows the listener to appreciate not only how the sounds interact with one another, but also the fullness and articulation of the individual textures.
As I hear these tracks unfold, I feel as if I’m on a ferryboat coasting down a calm river. There is no hurry, there is more than enough time to appreciate the surroundings. The pace is slow and steady, but it is anything but tiresome or monotonous. There is sparseness at play on Auris, but this situates each sound in ways which feel intentional and methodical. With a project like Organ of Corti, the whole is far greater than the sum of its parts.
Listening to this album reminded me of my experience driving the other day, through the thickest fog I’ve ever seen. I was only able to see about 20 or so feet in front of my car, while the sides of the road and further ahead remained obscure. I knew that the landscape was entirely familiar to me, yet suddenly it was beyond my sight. The sounds weaving themselves through the tracks on Auris remind me of this experience. I recognize them. I feel as if I should be able to identify them, yet they remain elusive, they’re just out of reach.
My first reaction when this album finished was: “wait… that’s it?? It’s over already?” but this is often the best reaction to have. I simply pressed the play button again, eager to be able to hear these pieces unfold, & to learn what secrets they have to reveal.
Dedicated reviews section. All writers welcome.
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