Rambutan – Partial Wires (Hooker Vision)

by mrdpetri

rambutan - partial wires

Rambutan (Eric Hardiman) has focused his sound palette down to an interesting microcosm of deep experimentation with synthesizer textures. Some of his earlier recordings (of note and highly recommended is the CDR Rusted Prayers Converge from 2008, and a tape recorded in 2009-2010 and put out recently on the Obsolete Units label called Surrounded) are centered on heavily effected guitars, but after some time perhaps in 2010 the direction shifted to synthesizers. Putting the guitar in the closet has produced a slew of pretty interesting and quirky releases that document a pretty cool low fidelity electronic art-music adventure. Rather than mostly creating a massive space with sounds, -doing a sort of cosmic or ambient sort of thing, the approach is more zoomed in on the interaction of the spaces between and the sounds themselves as they happen. There is a tactile sense put into the construction of each piece. There is a topography to the sounds in that they are carefully chosen for their points, peaks, wide bottoms, ripples, waves, spirals, etc. The color (tonality, volume, frequency, tambre, etc.) of the sounds is imaginative. This of course has to do with this all being synthesizer music, but Partial Wires is not composed of any predictable preset factory sounds from the synthesizers. Each piece has a sort of center that it revolves around, sometimes it’s a rhythmic arpeggio or non-arpeggio (something rhythmic or looped, which provides a sense of time), sometimes some twinkling cluster of notes ricocheting in a tiny metal room, weird sorts of arcade game-type sounds, sometimes a coordinated sculpture of a few of these things against each other. The imaginative quality of the sounds are the result of some minute tweaks and patient searching in knobland.

Throughout the tape, there’s often an implication of a melody that is repeated, such as in the first piece on side A, The Chamber, which has a repeating series of tones (an abstractly simple melody) that are synthetically plucked with ample space between each pluck for the reverberating trails and tentacles to be analyzed as it dissolves. This attention to the way each sound dissolves makes the texture of each piece unique and flavorful.

Though side A is nice, I do favor the pieces on side B. These pieces have less structure and are more like odd tone-backdrop studies in colliding tonalities and signal processing. Side A is colorfully gelatinous with some simple monochrome shapes in the foreground. Side B for the most part has only the gelatin, but I like the way its blobbiness screws with any sense of equilibrium. It’s got a sort of world-gone-sideways feeling. The first piece, A Thousand Memories (of Electricity), has the sort of primitive melody going on that The Chamber and other pieces from side A have, but the remaining 3 are less defined. In these last pieces the strangely warbled and flanged sounds are strangely moving in all directions. Repeated droplets of synthesizer sounds are skittering across a backdrop of vaguely unnerving flange weirdness that divides and melds with widely disparate registers of eerie bendy rubber bands of flange sounds. Each of the three last pieces has its own way of playing out, but they have an approach and maybe some instrumentation in common that makes them fit together almost like one bit piece divided into 3 movements. Putting the first piece (A Thousand Memories (of Electricity)) at the beginning as something like an introduction or prologue rounds out the story of side B, making four agile bars in an asymmetrical electronic poem.

The small-room reverbs and filtering used on many of the elements of each piece of music, for me, makes the music of Partial Wires appear dry and crispy, and if there’s moisture in the mix it’s usually like dewdrops, or some little splashes, or a floppy, sloppy, viscous kind of wetness. This tape has a sort of earthy, scatologically detailed science fiction angle that I enjoy very much. It does well to create imagined worlds and feelings in the listener’s mind.  A lot of Rambutan’s music has this searching-in-a-laboratory feel, likely because that’s what’s really happening as he earnestly and seeks new and different ways of sculpting evocative sounds with his varied collection of instruments. Partial Wires is a special tile on the mosaic of releases Rambutan will be flowing out as he continues his intelligently assembled and enthusiastic search.

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