Lissom: Nest of Iterations
Dragon's Eye Recordings

Dragon Eye's latest addition to its “sound art” catalogue comes by way of Oakland, California-based Lissom, in “real life” Tana Sprague, a sound and video artist who also works as the Production Manager and Assistant Director of Recombinant Media Labs (founded by Naut Humon and located in San Francisco ). Sprague's debut full-length under the Lissom name, Nest of Iterations, is an accomplished fifty-minute set of organic, slowly-evolving soundscapes that perpetuates Dragon Eye's solid streak of innovative electronic releases. The Lissom release features seven pieces, all of them sharing certain qualities but exemplifying differences too. In general, Sprague weaves field recordings, acoustic, and synthesized sounds into micro-detailed set-pieces that unfold like constantly shifting weather patterns, and at times suggest what the amplified recording of a body's circulatory system might sound like. Elements swim in a deep mix that's at times reminiscent in its density of an ambient-dub production. The opening “Fallow,” with its billowing clouds of grainy hiss, soft tinkles, bass tones, and whispered voices, and “Forage,” where reverb-heavy punctuations and a rhythm bed of decayed vinyl ripples converge, are characteristic of the Lissom style, but it's the two restrained pieces at the release's end that leave the strongest impression. Following the quiet ruminations of the penultimate “Stark,” we get the twelve-minute outro “Refract,” a melancholic, even somber exercise that proves single-handedly that emotional character can infuse even the most abstract electronic music.

April 2009