Something of an obsession at OBLADADA beyond the actual music is duration. How does the length of any given piece of music help our understanding or enjoyment? In some ways, song writing requires an approximate musical accompaniment long enough to fit around whatever verses and chorus might require… But when music is unshackled from song, it’s much easier to get swept up in the sounds, the textures, rhythms, light and shade.
Take planet sized sonic adventures like Roland Kayn’s Scanning or Erik Satie’s Vexations – huge slabs of time, 10 hours plus, that extend beyond what’s perhaps reasonable to expect listeners attention spans to be. This extended canopy of these works, however, becomes a significant part of the whole experience.
So, what’s immediately interesting is that both new releases combined, barely cover 30 minutes in total. Out of piss river’s 16 tracks, 10 are less than 60 seconds long and only 2 breaks the 2-minute mark. Before hitting play, it would be easy to imagine these tracks being little more than indistinct ambient wafting.
But amazingly as the 54 seconds of hitting the road outlines, we have just stumbled into a stream of fully realised electronic ecosystems. The wobbly jazz of the opener gives way to a mangled, clipped grooves of speeding through the pass. crossing the dam intercepts a leaked transmission before the blurring electronica of let’s make a pit stop whizzes by.
The mangled vocalisation of pulling your sisters and the hexagon sun ripples of a bright moon shines over us continue this succession of superbly dynamic electronic vignettes, like carefully polished gems.
In fact, the spell continues to reveal new forms in preview track lengths, twisting and evolving every gleaned second by second. Everything from droning elements to gooey hip hop beats, all coated in a disorienting, tape dragging gloriousness.
Only the last track breaks the form, in the newly vast seven minutes of one last smoke before turning in for the night. A pleasing piano and double bass mandala tapping out the passing of time dancing on the spot. The last track broadly highlighting that anything here works in miniatures as much as when it loops endlessly.
Released around the same time as piss river, two loops for matt presents a similar concept to the expanded final track. Another joy of miniaturisation as the title highlights – looped. morning chugs along in its 12 second footprint for 6 and half minutes. The keys and strumming guitar painting a scene that feels like sunbeams incrementally moving across the landscape. The companion piece evening does something similar with a floaty electronic mesh of elements slowly growing steadily woozier.
In a world were attention spans grow ever shorter, these two hugely entertaining releases are hugely active sonic molecules. Despite their combined minute stature, qualchan has whittled down some superbly densely packed micro doses…