Minit: Now Right Here

As Minit, Jasmine Guffond and Torben Tilly, formerly of Sydney and now Berlin residents, create ambient soundscapes that are meditative, hazy, and hallucinatory. If the idea is not terribly innovative or original, their particular take on it is certainly convincing enough, not to mention more musically satisfying than the genre norm. The two use sampling, digital processing, and electroacoustic techniques to create powerful work that impresses for the quality of its conception and cumulative impact.

It's worth noting that three of the four compositions on Now Right Here were created in 2002, but the standout, 2003's title track, is the latest and the longest at close to twenty minutes. It's an epic drone that's reminiscent of the No Pussyfooting and Evening Star Fripp-Eno collaborations, minus, that is, the indelible sound of Fripp's piercing guitar. In the Minit piece, wavering tones chime as they grow through subtle modulations and incremental changes into a dense hypnotic mass. Suspended rootlessly, the work shifts gears dramatically halfway through when a dominant bass line appears, anchoring the piece beautifully as its massive bulk wends its glacial way. The bass gradually fades along with the bright wave-like shimmer, leaving braying stuttering noises until they too fade, with a repeating piano chord remaining as a lone center. That the work sustains ample interest while developing at such a measured pace is a compliment to the control Minit exercises over its unfolding.

Predictably, while the other pieces are credible, they pale somewhat in comparison as none is as epic or consequential in scope as “Now Right Here.” Soft droning tones and creaking sounds on “CG,” originally composed for the video “China Girl” by Aaron Rogers, build towards a dense blur, while “IJ Muiden” features what sounds like heavily processed piano sounds and transforms them into a mass of hazy patter. In contrast to their becalmed ambience, the noisy beginning of prickly, crackling static in “IJ Variation” startles, but it too gradually quietens until it resembles a fuzzy recording of electrical wire tones paired with processed watery surf. Here and elsewhere, Guffond and Tilly demonstrate an impressive ability to conjure dense clusters of abstract sound without incurring a corresponding loss in musicality.

August 2004