Info Unfathomless 02 Tactile.Surface 
by Luigi Turra & Christopher McFall
Unfathomless (UO2)
"Tactile.Surface [edit 1] - L. Turra & C. McFall"
"Tactile.Surface [edit 2] - L. Turra & C. McFall"
Christopher McFall
Luigi Turra


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

Christopher McFall is a Kansas City-based composer. He works with field recordings and analogue tape, physically treating these prior to their being processed on a computer. His method typically involves culling essences from his tapes seeking to fish out quasi-tonal drones from among his trawl, over which other elements, recognisable or otherwise, are smeared. Luigi Turra is a musique concrète composer and graphic designer whose main interest is in the aural balance between silence and tactile perception of sound. Tactile.Surface's sources were recorded in completely different settings: Turra’s room in Schio, Italy, and one of McFall’s trips from Kansas to Colorado.

For the most part, the expert handling of bottomless echoes constitutes the essential matter of what is at times a headily sonorous brew. The only specific sonic note is the use of a shakuhachi among Turra’s materials. Their combined aesthetic is one of stark isolationism, with a mix of familiar components bringing new timbral skin to the old ceremony. Sounds are heavily processed through extensive equalization, drawing out the lower end of the sound spectrum with occasional high pitches. Underlying hums are layered into a shifting dronal bed while the tactile comes from reverberant clangs and thumps skittering over surface. These noisier occurrences are gratifyingly fairly confined, never dominating the soundfield, as the lower frequency treatments generate considerable listener engagement (sample "Tactile.Surface [edit 1]" and "Tactile.Surface [edit 2]"). Portions are powerfully suggestive, the sort of thrumming whispers – enriched by subtle vibrations and subliminal pulse – that characterize the best of this sphere’s magna opera. Sounds are sculpted to create a liminal suspension of chance prosodies. Various emergences ensue - occluded pulses, aleatory sounds as if sourced from church bells, slow dissolves into claustrophobic city noise, apertures into expansive interiors. Once you're drawn in, total submersion into Turra & McFall's transmutation of their sources into a deep drowning pool of sound is inevitable.

Review by Alan Lockett


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