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"peak of anchorite"
31 may 2012
recorded and edited by IA
finalized in san francisco 2011
gratitude to jean-marc, michi, and ross
photography : delphine ancelle-b.
IA is the project of us artist alex copeland who sent us a while back a handful of beautiful tracks, and also a great collaborative track (with julien demoulin) titled "the bay" alas 40min long. "the bay" was happily since co-released by ronda and our dear collegue from basses frequences (check this great disc here if you haven't yet!). luckily the solo tracks were of equal beauty and we were immediately hooked by some of them... "peak of anchorite" is a perfect example of IA's music: a kind of ancient, lo-fi drone that could remind the good old days of rapoon. a great newcomer to discover!
1. peak of anchorite
Vital Weekly 839
Hot on the heels of the previous three (see Vital Weekly 837), another trio of 3"CDR releases. [...]
IA recently came to our attention when he worked together with Julien Demoulin on a piece called 'The Bay' (see Vital Weekly 820) but here is one of his first solo pieces to be released. Its a cigar piece, a friend of mine would say. If you open this up in a sound editing program you will see it looks like a cigar (and I have to rip pieces for the podcast, so I see them). A slow, long fade and a short fade at the end, and in between things are slowly building up. Hard to say what it is but the whole piece has a distortion in the higher region of the sound spectrum, which I am not sure of it being all intentional. This was an alright piece, a bit too single minded perhaps, but not bad. [...] (FdW)
A Closer Listen
Theres a part of ambient music closely tied to drone, the part that concerns itself mostly with repetition, that has distanced itself from both the lightness of setting the mind adrift as self-spectator and the heaviness of noisy irruptions of soundscapes enabling the activity of thought. It treads no road in between, but floats away into a place where contemplation dissolves the limits of context, unmasking History as great impersonator: the Peak of Anchorite, the highest viewpoint of the mystic that sees fields eternally on fire where the believer sees a written text taking place. It is an inward movement that never loses its hold on what surrounds it, like an anchorite finding seclusion at the center of communal congregations, decidedly a part of the world while simultaneously away from it. The repetition that surrounds him or her is understood, but not accepted, for it turns the rhythm of life into the drones of ritual, the blinding brilliance of the sun into cycles of mechanical gestures. The anchorite seeks the stars elsewhere, deeply within the repetition of his or her own heartthrob instead of a collective celebration written in stone.
Hence, this is ambient music that sets off with no discernible beginning or end beyond the pressing of buttons, although theres no easy way to integrate it with whatever it is you might be doing; it demands your full attention as it unravels a meditative space inside your head, which is to say it drones like the best of em. The anchorite reference becomes apt, as electronic distortion seemingly repeats to no end only to be elevated by a lone voice chanting amidst the noise. It is a rhythm to build a mental maze out of, a constant suggestion of self-exploration, a grinding meditation that inspires an awe no longer found in the conventions of self-understanding, overtaken as they are by a myriad linear expressions of emptiness. It is in this way that it will evoke altogether different meditations on every person, every time, an experience in which perhaps finding an immense sadness in this music might happen at the very same time of finding peace and a feeling of tranquillity.
Being only 24 minutes long, Peak of Anchorite suggests a sense of incompleteness, in the same way a mystic finds ritual incomplete because there is no close conciliation between inside and outside, it is but the drawing of veils upon veils. The mystic sees, piercing the masks, the walls built by texts, and encounters him or herself in everything. This music has the same sense of remaining incomplete, and it demands all of your attention, it demands an inward movement only for you to open your eyes in the end and look anew upon all that was previously so easily explained. It flies in the face of both ambient and drone, using their techniques of immersion to travel to yet another route that is hard for a reviewer like me to pin down, a path that is weird and fantastic, perhaps the only places where to talk of music and mysticism still makes a bit of sense. The closest thing I could make the case for is that its like Jefre Cantu-Ledesmas Shining Skull Breath, following the same kind of religious if utterly noisy and modern approach to drone and ambient, a unique way of punching holes within meditations to make space for the surroundings, producing a subtle but significant change in perspective.
In any case, thanks to the fair aims of IAs record label, this music is available to everyone, without having to worry about the limited releases of dronesters all over. If you have the means and the disposition, this is one of those albums you shouldnt pass by without giving it at least a listen or two if possible. You wont regret it! (David Murrieta)