The work of David ‘Autistici’ Newman (Sheffield-based sound artist and also Audiobulb label curator) has regularly appeared on these pages, but Justin Varis (from L.A.) was unknown to me until now – even though he has released Mountains in 2013 and appeared on various collections.
The two have worked together on their new album – Nine – in the familiar collaborational way, sending material back and forth as it developed.
The result is an 141 minute double album with eight tracks (not nine), completed by another eight remixes from artists ‘close to their universe’.
(Think: Marcus Fischer, Isnaj Dui, Christopher Hipgrave, Monty Adkins, Pillowdiver, Offthesky, Wil Bolton and Letters! on Sounds.)
All tracks are named after different colours. It took a while before I realised that they should best be experienced in a synaesthetic way: the sounds represent the colour characteristics – at least the way the artists experience them.
The opening track, Light Blue, evolves around a somewhat harsh synth sound which I did not find particularly pleasant at first. But light blue can be quite a harsh, sharp colour too. Realising this, my listening experience changed.
This way, each track has his own different characteristics, some bright, some soft, all built from microscopic details.
Experiencing colours also proves to be a personal experience: the longest track – subtitled Sleep Test for Erik and a perfect track to doze away on – is called Amber; a colour close to yellow and orange and so one not immediately associated with ‘sleep’ (to my eyes, I should add).
The remixers all take a slightly different approach, adding layers of sounds to the basic material, which is like putting the original colours into the perspective of their surrounding landscape.
Together, these two cd’s are a truly kaleidoscopic collection!
To conclude, here’s the (usual) sad news:
although the release date for Nine is set for January, 16, the physical copies are already marked sold out!
But pay attention if you’re interested: the last few copies may soon become available directly from Autistici, from Stashed Goods (UK) or from Experimedia (US). Of course, the digital version will remain available for everybody else.