Minor Phase Patterns (Kimberly Dawn, 2010)
For: Evan Caminiti, Sean McCann, Pop-era Gas
Byline: A beautiful ambient painting on the canvas of a 3" CD-R. Don't have a CD spindle? Get one.
I feel a little guilty reviewing this, as the release from the 3" CD-r label Kimberly Dawn Recordings is (perhaps unsurprisingly and indeed unfortunately) already sold out of its limited run of 50 copies, and the only place I've been able to track down that has even but a five-minute excerpt from the piece is a YouTube video that's embedded into Kim Dawn's blog. So it's troubling to me that many who read this may never get the chance to hear this work in full, as Frank Baugh (aka Sparkling Wide Pressure) and Derek Rogers' ambient effort is quite the treasure. Minor Phase Patterns layers long, slender guitar and synth tones against one another, allowing individual voices to kind of massage themselves together. It creates a homogeneously smooth and creamy hum with flashes of fleeting melodies you almost create for yourself subconsciously. Beats and rhythmic devices are sacrificed in favor of very slowly developing chord progressions, tonally fluid and morphing with the waxing and waning of textures so soft and slight (much like the works of composers like Wolfgang Voigt or William Basinski), changes barely go noticed. The music does follow a trajectory, though, a remarkable feat for a sound that remains so consistently firm in volume and overall girth—it's never fat or lean, starving or engorged—simply full. Elements breathe for themselves and are independent, but they work in a delicate tandem to operate like an organism, all singularly participatory in contributing to a common, well-rounded and balanced whole...
...I have to admit, most of my music these days is either downloaded, loaded into my slot-fed laptop, or, you know, I'm always partial to vinyl. So it was a task for me to find a way to hear Minor Phase Patterns. But interestingly, I was also immediately drawn to this little gem. These 3" discs are hip artifacts—folkloric vessels in a way, transporting music to an emerging subculture through a stylized material format. They empower ritual in art, emphasizing specifically planned, exclusive sorts of listening practices, encouraging more interpersonal moments of sharing that the internet age might be guilty of destroying. These CDs can be a pain in the ass to enjoy for those of you with nary a tray nor spindle, but they're also a beautiful pain in the ass, completely worth the effort whatever you have to do to hear them.
Kimberly Dawn Blogspot (Lots of great stuff here - and these sell out quick. Get on it!)
An excerpt from Minor Phase Patterns for your listening enjoyment: