Fabio Orsi and Seaworthy: Near and Faraway
Low Point

As the title indicates, Near And Faraway bridges the significant geographical gap separating Italian producer and currently Berlin-based Fabio Orsi and Sydney, Australia trio Seaworthy (responsible for the recent 12k release 1897) through long-distance file-sharing. Nicely structured, the fifty-one-minute release bookends the titular collaboration with a solo work by each artist, Orsi's placed first and Seaworthy's third.

Orsi uses guitars, keyboards, and effects to generate the heavenly ambiance of “Evening By Evening,” the album's opening piece and the most powerful of the three. Throughout its sixteen becalmed minutes, sustained, upper-register tones blend into willowy, cloud-like masses and whistling tones exhale amidst gently surging chords. As it moves towards its close, the sound mass slowly intensifies as layers accumulate and natural sounds of children's voices appear. Orsi's piece is a mastefully sculpted work and a prime exemplar of the soundscaping style. The equally lovely collaboration, “Near And Faraway,” also weaves long-form tendrils of guitars and processed sounds into a nebulous, shimmering mass. The loveliest moment in this case comes ten minutes in when a clearing in the mist allows delicate guitar tones to be heard before the mass moves in again to dominate. “Branch And Stone,” the contribution from Seaworthy (core member Cameron Webb supplemented by Sam Shinazzi and Greg Bird) severely strips the dense sound of the other two tracks down so that treated guitar sounds are almost all that's left. In the album's most low-level setting, tonal elements stretch out in ultra-elongated manner until only little more than textural shadings of guitar remain. With forward momentum gradually disappearing altogether, the effect is like twilight setting in and the shades being drawn.

The album undergoes an interesting trajectory in moving from the full-bodied opener to the slightly less epic centerpiece before slowing to the even more restrained closer. Though each of the pieces falls within the fifteen-to-twenty-minute range, each is clearly different in character while at the same time preserving signature characteristics of the artists involved. All told, Near And Faraway is a strong collection from simpatico collaborators that's worth acquiring purely on the basis of Orsi's piece alone.

September 2009