Corey Larkin: Pnomoneya
Full Spectrum

Subtitled “an improvised piece for singing bowl, bell, and two gongs,” Corey Larkin's Pnomoneya is about as time-suspending an album—even by drone standards—as has been heard in these parts for quite a long time. Available in a 100-copy run, the seventy-seven-minute work originated from a subway-based field recording of metal-on-metal sounds, which Larkin subsequently decided to emulate in a work created using the aforesaid materials. Over a three-day period, Larkin created Pnomoneya's four improvised “movements” from within the frozen, ice-covered bowels of his apartment. A skeletal, microtonal field of static pitches ebbs and flows, often threatening to disappear, so fragile and weightless is the sound mass. Over the course of nearly thirty minutes, the first movement undertakes a glacial journey that's like a shape on the horizon gradually diminishing to a vanishing point before near-inaudible exhalations emerge to arrest its decay. Though slightly high pitches distinguish the second piece from the first, the second movement's faint oscillating shimmer represents even more of a microsound excursion than the first, while the third's contents are less tones than reverberating waves, suggesting gongs as the track's sound sources. A moment of silence sets in halfway through, after which the quietly cavernous rumble and whirr returns. Though the six-minute fourth part is dwarfed by its predecessors, its fluctuating modulations are more perceptible, no doubt due in part to the compact running time. A close listening exercise in hard-core drone isolationism, Pnomoneya naturally invites reference to the works and stylistic approaches of La Monte Young and Thomas Köner.

August 2009