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Tony Rolando – Absent From The Void LP (Pre-Order)

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The third release from Ceremony of Seasons. The music accompaniment to VISUALS Wine’s Ritual of Senses Wine Club package – released to the world on the Spring Equinox of 2023.

Specifically written and recorded by Tony Rolando to be paired with Absent In the Void, a California grown, direct pressed, native yeast fermented Chardonnay wine.

When Spring hits, there’s the recognition, that moment when you remember that this is what the Spring feels like, that anticipated total experience of Spring that is the same Spring as always, eternally bursting with life—yet there’s also the strange feeling of noticing that it’s possible to forget what Spring feels like, that the other seasons pass over your consciousness and erase the feeling of Spring from your senses, that the actual phenomenon of spring is irretrievable except during Spring itself. Spring’s familiar sense of exploding possibility and growing warmth is mixed with the uncanniness that such a palpable and intimately-known feeling can vanish without a trace. This tension between the familiar and the uncanny sits at the center of Tony Rolando’s Absent From The Void, its immersive liveliness and jubilation never content to sit still, always spilling out into the weirdness of the void.

Though Tony designs synthesizers for Asheville’s Make Noise, Absent From The Void’s texture is replete with seemingly organic elements that intrude upon the layers of synthesized sound, from vocal lines that morph into melodic leads, to the jarringly familiar but fractured alarm bell and clock tick samples on “Void Drone,” to vocoded lyrical stanzas that slip between clear and distinct language and abstract tone. These organic elements simultaneously offer welcome concreteness in the ideal landscapes of the album’s 10 tracks, yet they also feel uncanny in their arrangement as it becomes clear that they too are purely sonic, readily manipulable with synthesis magic. It’s difficult to pin down even the repeating melodic sequences that surface throughout Absent from the Void: many of those seemingly-stable phrases are suffused with randomness, odd tonalities, and ever-changing processing as they unravel and turn inward on themselves, fleeing attempts to contain them.

But that’s the thing about the void. Try discussing it and it flees from the language, try bottling it and it eats through your container, try scoring it in time and it constantly shifts towards a new chaos. What’s more exciting than any potential conceptual clarity here is that these explorations of the void display a resonant curiosity and deep attention to detail. And perhaps most importantly, these pieces revel in cosmic wonder and awe, never languishing in the emptiness or resting in the nullity. It’s absent from the absence—a fullness, an explosion, a myriad of color, sound, phenomena. When it ends, like the always-too-brief season, you’ll need to return time and time again to experience Absent From the Void and all the sensations, events, and possibilities it offers.

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