Ido Govrin: Moraine
Interval Recordings

Interval Recordings co-manager and sound artist Ido Govrin steps out with an electroacoustic collection that, despite a svelte running time of thirty-seven minutes, makes a powerful impression. The album title is purposefully chosen as it refers to the slow and deliberate micro-processes of assembling and disassembling, and to materials collapsing, disintegrating, and reforming; more specifically, it refers to the geological phenomenon whereby bedrock is reduced to grains by the crushing movement and pressure of a glacier above. Sonically, the concept translates into six meditative dronescapes that Govrin created by processing cello and violin sounds and via pure computer-generated processing. In many respects, it's an album of contrasts with Govrin juxtaposing blocks of dense masses against the most fragile of groupings, and extroverted passages against micro-sound whispers. Such ideas are translated into sonic form most noticeably in “Push,” where the material conveys the slow shifting of tectonic plates and sudden intensifications of pressure.

One would have liked to have heard more of “Ground” than this too-brief overture of electrical shimmer and Karni Postel's cello allows, but there's also something to be said for concision. “Lateral” offers an excursion into the micro-sound of deep space more than anything earthbound, while the cathedral-like grace of “Recessional” is undercut by overlays of immense, combustible swirls. Carmel Raz's violin is used to generate ghost-like textures in “Medial,” the piece so micro-sound in character it almost disappears into silence two-thirds of the way through. While Govrin's pieces hardly suggest direct connections on compositional grounds to Bach, a piece such as “Terminal” possesses a beautiful timbral quality that's reminiscent of a Brandenberg Concerto or a baroque setting, with strings and electronics generating a glassy mass that sometimes glistens like a harpsichord. Here too it's easy to be swept up by the hymnal quality that emanates from the piece's mournful core. “Terminal” is not only a beautiful piece of sound design, but it manages to cultivate its elegiac aura in just five minutes. It's in this piece as well that Govrin most affectingly translates that geological sense of collapse and disintegration into melancholy.

March 2010