VA: The Silence Was Warm Vol. 4
Between 2007 and 2011, Symbolic Interaction issued a dizzying number of releases and then… nothing. So it's great to see Kentaro Togawa's label back in action, even if it's unclear whether its fourth The Silence Was Warm volume is a one-shot deal or a release signifying the resumption of activity. Regardless, the compilation offers a comprehensive overview of the label's stylistic range and roster, given that a large number of its past associates (Pawn, Vic Mars, Melorman, Rudi Arapahoe, Minco Eggersman, etc.) appear on it.
We have to go all the way back to summer of 2008 for the release of Arapahoe's Echoes From One To Another (the number one pick in textura's 2008 round-up, incidentally), which makes his collaboration with Serbian composer and vocalist Jovana Backovic, “To Paint Breath On Air,” all the more welcome. Five years removed from Arapahoe's classical-electronic debut album, the 2010 track is as exotic and alluring an excursion, though one given a noir jazz twist in its incorporation of acoustic bass and sensual vocalizing.
As one might expect, the release includes its fair share of dramatic and heavily textured ambient soundscapes (Fonogram's “Cruz Del Sur (Mekha's Introspection),” Giulio Aldinucci's “Travertino”), with field recordings naturally figuring into some of the pieces. In most tracks, manipulations of the source material are extensive, resulting in tracks solidly emblematic of the experimental electronic tradition. There are exceptions to that rule, however, such as Silmus's sparkling acoustic reverie “Clearing Up” and Deathrowradio's “Yeah Right,” a surprisingly sedate setting of countrified picking and wordless vocalizing. Some artists opt for a more melodious style in their contributions (Melorman's “Your Day,” Vic Mars' clarinets-and-piano setting “Before the War”), whereas others favour wistful evocations (Minco Eggersman's “1994 (Somewhere in Time)”). Elsewhere, Wil Bolton's textural moodpiece “Haze” meanders lazily like a more sedate example of an early Oval work, Maps And Diagrams serves up a lustrous, pastoral ambient setting called “Glossolalia,” and Shotahirama offers the release's sole take on micro-detailed instrumental hip-hop in “Pretty Girl Sitting.”
In keeping with the title's implied theme, the sixty-six-minute recording traffics more in becalmed moods than agitated ones, the exception being the set's noisiest setting, “Incremental Threshold,” which alternates between controlled strings-heavy passages and scalding, guitar-fueled roar and is the product of Togawa's own Hopeless Local Marching Band.