Info Breathletters - Sublamp 
"Breathletters"
by Sublamp
Dragonís Eye Recordings (de5022)
"Dust Lessons"
"Starvation Tapes"

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fn issue October 2011
'N-Plants' - Biosphere
'Sky Snails' - The Electric Golem
'Echo Park' - Willamette
'Gramophone Transmissions' - Broken Harbour
'Negative Space' - Blue Sausage Infant
'Home Patterning' - compilation
'Polychromatic Integers' - Richard Lainhart
'Generate Records' - compilation
'Sung In Broken Symmetry' - Aquarelle



Los Angelos-based sound artist Ryan Connor uses the Sublamp monikor to craft an airy pastiche of glacially evolving soundscapes in his recent release Breathletters. He presents these conceptual sound works as unwinding sculptural elements, abstract in form, yet suggesting natural, environmental processes. Connor juxtaposes binaural field recordings with recorded acoustic string instruments (violin, guitar, bowed electric bass) and hammered metals via contact mics. His focus is on distilling specific harmonics from dense textures, while allowing the pieces to remain sonically blurred and soft around the edges.

The 9-track limted cdr sets off with the song Echolalic, where foot steps morph into a lovely loop of repeating texture and metallic resonances. Dust Lession fades in slow and remains a distant quiet roar. The majority of the album has a somber tone with quirky track titles such as Mouseblood, Like Spiders on the Fox's Tongue, and Spitting color. Stars of the Lid are an obvious reference when describing the general mood of Sublamp, however I think Sublamp achieves more with less pomp.

The press sheet references Connor's interest in"pre-language" and "consciousness without language," concepts like the instincts of animals. The aptly titled Monophoneme,, explores what might be a simple human vocalisation inside an ambient drone, but it is difficult to discern whether you're listening to a voice or just layers of harmonic textures. Without the context, the piece stands well alone as an intriguing work but upon repeated listens more elements start to surface. Breathletters has many of these moments, which allow ever more discoveries upon repeated listening.

Review by Derek Morton

 

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