Palac: Clairvaux EP

Clairvaux EP presents twenty-five minutes of sonically rich ambient settings by Berlin-based Peter Prautzsch under the Palac name (the release's four electronic pieces were re-edited at Clairvaux, Sydney Australia, hence the title). Constructed from string samples, field recordings, found sounds, and minimal beat patterns, Palac's meditations are largely static in nature, with the focus as much if not more on dense sonic layering than horizontal development. Setting the tone at the outset, “The Ocean at Coney Island ” merges field elements (heavy breathing, voices, water sounds) with the melancholic cascade of orchestral strings and hypnotic rhythmic flow. The eight-minute “Rafael Soto” begins in minimal mode with the whirr and click of an understated funk pattern but then slowly blossoms into a wide-screen blend of beats and surging string counterpoint. In a change of pace, “Tesa Music” serves up an ambient meditation of processed piano sounds that Prautzsch splinters into jittery, tinkly fragments, creating an almost gamelan-like effect in the process. The EP picks up for its closer “Kind Things Sing” by pairing granular ripples and flickering tones with lurching rhythm patterns that hiccup, stumble, and surge by turn. In sum, the territory may not be unfamiliar but Prautzsch brings a carefully-considered artfulness to these compositions.

August 2008