Thursday, February 18, 2021

Euphotic-Isopleths; Public Eyesore Records #146, 2020


A euphotic space is one in which plankton can receive enough sunlight for the process of photosynthesis. When Disaster Amnesiac thinks a bit past the definition, I think of areas that are both dark and light, warm and cold. You know, that spot that you can float around in, with a snorkel, while half of your body is warmed by sunlight and the other half is touched by the cooler dynamics emanating from the water's depths. These spaces are liminal, and as such, one must strive to pay attention a bit more when one is within them. 

Paying attention is a key to interactions with Isopleths, the recent CD from Euphotic. A kind of Eletro-Acoustic power trio, made up of Bryan Day on self-invented instruments, Cheryl Leonard on same, and Tom Djill on trumpet and electronics, the group has recorded a work that demands and rewards that attentive listening. Generally, you can disregard the inclination to identify what instrument is making which sound. This is especially true in the case of Leonard and Day. Their rigs are so unique, so personal as to defy all that, unless you're able to see them in a live setting (...ahem....) 

Instead, just let the sounds flow over the perceptions, much in the same way that could let the water within that liminal zone flow over your body as you float or swim. Sounds click, and snort, and clang, and wheeze, and splatter, all the while bumping up against other sounds that occur simultaneously. On occasion, Tom's trumpet bleats, giving off a bit of traditional timbral familiarity. All of this action happens within a generally still and unassuming manner. These three musicians all work within a scene that values understatement and active listening to a high degree, and, within those parameters, Djill, Leonard, and Day are very refined. As Disaster Amnesiac has listened to Isopleths, I've done so both within a more "active" mode and within one less so (driving, doing dishes, writing emails), and the album suits both modalities just fine, even though one will definitely get more sonic payoff from the a place of the active variety. Significant, "rocking" heat is at times generated, especially within the tracks that have most consistently made my ears perk up, Echolocution and Pluton. On the former especially, it's felt almost as if Euphotic planned things to go that way, winding their way to it with a relaxed, gentle pace. The latter gives a bit of a preview of what's to come, before slinking more into the background for a while. The dynamic ebb and flow of Isopleths is very compelling, that's for sure. You wade in, immerse, start to float, notice more and more, and then you're hit with the immensity of the environment in which you're presently dwelling. A VERY nice feeling, and absolutely worth the wait. 

As stated,  you'll want to give as much of your direct perceptual attention to Isopleths as you can. Do so, and you'll find yourself floating along within a very fascinating liminal world. Don't be panicked by the wide open spaces therein, for you can be assured that they'll lead to plenty of satisfying sound interactions in time.


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