Shinkei + mise_en_scene: Scytale

On Scytale, David Sani (Shinkei) and mise_en_scene (Shay Nassi) join forces for four microsound settings, which are in turn supplemented by remix treatments from Luigi Turra (Sani and Turra co-founded the Koyuki label in 2008), Michael Hartman, and mAtter label head Yukitomo Hamasaki. It's headphones material in the truest sense of the word, with lowercase sounds blended into generally long-form soundscapes heavy on the ebb and flow of overlapping whirrs, clicks, signals, and rumbles. At times the material suggests real-world identification—a thrum of crickets appears to stream alongside fireplace crackle during “Cuts”—but in this context it's impossible to determine whether the sounds are derived from natural sources via field recordings or are purely computer-generated creations. Not that such concerns matter much anyway, as the recording's immersive universes still comes across as hermetic either way. It goes without saying that melody and rhythm are absent, and narrative arc too; these pieces are primarily concerned with textural design, and as such the focus is firmly centered on the constant flow of shape-shifting sounds. On the remix front, Turra's “Cryptology [agrandissement]” opens peacefully with the sound of wind softly blowing before returning to the insectoid noises and rumble of the original. If anything, Turra's treatment burrows even more deeply into the microuniverse as moments of silence emerge alongside barely audible episodes. Hartman's “Dreaming Assent” remix alternates boldly between stark twilight moments and relatively aggressive passages, while Hamasaki's “Abstr.B., No2” seems to reverberate through a hollowed-out concrete tunnel while a steamship's horn resounds far off in the distance.

March 2010