One Far West: Recurrence
It's Only Me Records

I'm guessing I won't be the first person or the last to draw a comparison between One Far West's debut recording Recurrence (issued on cassette and as a digital download) and William Basinski's The Disintegration Loops, especially when both recordings feature blurry horns mournfully intoning within funereal settings of powerfully evocative character. And, lo and behold, closer inspection reveals that Recurrence, in fact, includes “slow-motion loops captured from an old broadcast junior 78 of cornet solos,” a detail that strengthens the connection between the recordings all the more, even if the colossal weight of the 9/11 tragedy shadows Basinski's.

Recurrence began when One Far West (a sound art project that appears to be the brainchild of Austin, Texas-based John Wilkins) merged a field recording made in the middle of the night after a thunderstorm with the aforementioned horn playing and other instrumentation into woozy lamentations of dramatic sweep designed to explore cyclical themes of repetition and rebirth. As thick as fog, the haunted material rumbles disconsolately, its ever-present horns piercing the blurry waves of storm sounds with muffled moans. In featuring a horn melody that's particularly wistful and suffused with mourning (as well as the omnipresent hum of an ethereal choir-like presence), the second piece, “A Rose Knows to Grow Thorns,” seems to align itself most conspicuously to Basinski's project. The music exudes a lulling quality that can't help but arise when phrases are looped throughout a given setting. Such an effect is noticeably apparent in “Rituals of Remembrance” but applies generally, too—though it's admittedly more wheezing than lulling in the closing “Unlimited by Reflection.”

If there's a weakness to Recurrence, it's that all four of its identically timed tracks (each is eleven minutes and twenty-three seconds long) are, sonically speaking, variations on a theme and so a relative sameness can't help but emerge between the tracks. One imagines One Far West would argue that said sameness is deliberate, the intention being to retain an overall coherence in the album sound as well as to directly reinforce the album's themes.

December 2013