Storage [SLP018], the ravishing debut release from British composer Aaron Parker, collects five works attentively compiled over a period of almost three years. Parker’s pieces are as much ‘environments’ as ‘compositions’: rich ecosystems where strata of fibrous acoustic and electronic sound are overlaid in undulating cycles at once mechanical and utterly natural.
Lead cut ‘Warehouse’ is a substantial ensemble piece dating from 2012, where lurching winds, balletic metal percussion, and chiming harps curiously assemble around a supple violin line and a dripping metronomic glitch. Though it owes a debt to the mammoth, chugging minimalism of ‘70s Glass and Reich, ‘Warehouse’ is far from brutal, and exudes a lushness more akin to the environmental works of Zimoun and Chris Watson.
Storage‘s accompanying works – which take their titles simply from the GPS location and date on which they were completed – foreground electronic over acoustic processes. Parker’s looped scrapes, sighing machines, and snatches of field recording reverberate in strange, artificial acoustics. These uncannily melodic pieces distort both temporal and spatial perception, and the influence of Cage, Eno, and Giuseppe Ielasi loom large.
Parker is as indebted to visual ruminations upon landscape – Larry Gottheim, Norman Ackroyd, Gerhard Richter, Julian Opie – as sonic ones. Fittingly, ‘Storage’’s completion owes much to an intense period of collaboration with visual artist Susie Whaites. One of a limited series of 60 photographs by Whaites is contained within each copy of this limited release, which comes paired with a cassette, the full digital audio files, and a bonus talk tape with early pressings. Mastered by Rupert Clervaux.
“…“Warehouse” feels like being inside a giant hanging mobile, with each dangling object spinning on its own axis and the whole thing spiralling round like a galaxy of sound points. The aim is to fit all these parts together, allowing some to lead, some to whir away in the background, and others to crash and collide at just the right moment, and it’s something that Parker pulls off very well. The mixing of electronic and acoustic sound sources feels completely natural and unforced…” – Nathan Thomas, Fluid Radio
“…the sonics remain so spiritually linked to the land that even the eruptions of bass which threaten to dismantle the final piece diminish the srenity of wet woodland the release transports you to…” – Tristan Bath, The Wire
“…an æther-dream cycle of music box melody, rustling bleeps, and swelling, underlying concrète mechanics…” Boomkat