It should come as no surprise that ‘deep listening,’ a practice attributed to the late Pauline Oliveros, gestated into a form of ‘music,’ often labelled ‘as ambient, ethereal, electronic.’ The words and sounds most often associated with ‘ambient’ evoke a sense of subterranean depth- an approach of focused and attentive pacing- a rich and organic growth of lush sound palettes.
Few current artists stand tall and unique in such realms, as the presently celebrated designers of electronic soundscapes come mainly from avenues of density– intense juxtaposition and rapid movement. Flash and flair.
It is perhaps in a world focused on content over substance, of bright lights and shiny hi-def modular-synth laden ‘plant-ambient’ videos, that when craftsmen who work with advanced and primitive electronic techniques make a statement, that their uniqueness and ability to express a powerful voice which demands focus, is perceived as simplistic.
It comes as no surprise that one of the most brilliant, careful, and hardworking ears in sound, Matt Ibarra, brings forth new breathtaking work that crosses the boundaries of tape music, modern ambient, and electronica. Absolute Misery (a powerful statement as a title alone) exists as a brief, but potent work in modern synthesis. Perfectly matched with damaged and textural visuals from Kris R. of Nostilevo, who ironically yet aptly coined the term ‘electronic electronics.’ A sound both genre-less and familiar, leaving us free to more deeply experience the devastated emotional landscapes within.
Matt states in regards to the process ‘influences spanning from Christoph de Babalon, Wolfgang Voigt, and Lee Bannon. I put together 4 tracks of ritual ambient meticulously composed and rehearsed then recorded live to 2″ tape.’ Vividly on display here is the marriage and duality between old and new, of deep reflection and fleeting moments, of the warmly familiar and letting go.
To quote the master Oliveros:
“The key to multi-level existence is Deep Listening – listening in as many ways as possible to everything that can possibly be heard all of the time. Deep Listening is exploring the relationships among any and all sounds whether natural or technological, intended or unintended, real, remembered or imaginary. Thought is included.
-Brandon Hill (Fantastique / Starved Relations)