By the time the final 7-minute track The Real Thing properly reveals itself, you’ll probably experience a strange metal jolt. By that point, your almost 30-minutes into an oddly beguiling form of ambience. Multi Natural, Christina Vantzou’s new album on Edições CN, is far more than just another gathering of soft edges and vague blurring.
The understated jarr the last track comes in the form of a vocal looped polite English voice intoning “you said to me when you saw her, saw her work, you know she was the real thing” in a matrix of clicking breathy space. The effect is like having too many browser windows open and some hidden YouTube tab throws a weird advert that overlaps into an otherwise abstract stillness.
Multi Natural delights in these unexpected juxtaposed layering throughout its time warping 36-minute lifespan. The album is part of an ongoing series commissioned by the label, to zone in on explorations of field recordings. Of course, with the world upside down, it’s far more problematic to collect and harvest sounds but this album feels like the narrowing of options has only intensified the power of the music.
What we are rapidly transported to is a poetic zone that sits between thick textures and an equally syrupy space. After the conceptual cut up of opener 1234, Lair 10 tumbles around in a pattern of strings, plucked whirlpools and bizarre howling wolves.
The two-part Marmara Beach grows out of a piped focus of energy that rolls around the speakers as it dips and drags. The crackling fire, the bird song, flute and panpipes emerge into a bold realignment of new age markers into something far edgier and psychedelic. The brassy smudges of the second part almost enmeshing into rhythmic cogs like minimalism embalmed in molasses.
Back porch scurries around in agitated forms before swelling into a filmic panorama somewhere between a desert horizon and a half-remembered train station. By this point it’s clear Vantzou is dealing in forms of sonic alchemy where tiny gestures exude a bizarrely magnified power. Each layer combining into more that it would be reasonable to expect, wormholes to completely realised new worlds.
Wild beast research circles a harp, sliced breath and a thick edge before Violins in waterstone slowly encrusts the strings in a thick heaving sludge. Snow White rises like a column of pure energy before flying through a soaring celestial dream.
It’s undeniable that Multi Natural is an absolute treat to the ears and it’s true that the fragments it knits together are evidence that Vantzou has got an amazingly subtle creative touch. Sound is fully respected, and magic slowly rises out of every unique marriage. In other hands, this material may become unsettling or tie itself in knots, but here, it’s nothing more than a tightly focused and perplexingly beautiful adventure – a superbly subtle but wonderful listen.
Multi Natural is out now on Edições CN, its available on vinyl, cassette and digital