Evan Caminiti - Varispeed Hydra Music Album Reviews

The Los Angeles musician, formerly of Barn Owl, fuses synthesizers and processed guitar into ominous, inky atmospheres that bridge experimental music and ambient dub.

Until the early 2010s, Evan Caminiti recorded towering drones in the Thrill Jockey duo Barn Owl with Jon Porras, conjuring images of grim skies over endless plains using a spartan two-guitar setup. In recent years, he’s broadened his instrumental palette and shifted his focus to urban landscapes. After Meridian’s focus on modular synthesizer, 2017’s Toxic City Music reintroduced guitar, often processed beyond recognizability, to create an oil-slick reflection of New York. That album felt like a breakthrough, balancing smog-belching industrial textures with hypnotic grooves that were threatening yet seductive. That grayscale sonic metropolis expands on Varispeed Hydra, where new stylistic alleyways lead Caminiti to fading remnants of the natural world.

Some of the first sounds you hear on opener “Hand in Flame” are the cries of birds fluttering distantly above the murky low-end churn. They’re a consistent natural presence throughout Varispeed Hydra, but Caminiti uses these and other natural accents, like the water rushing through “Holo Dove,” to amplify his polluted electroacoustic atmospheres. Like the dense assemblages of Tim Hecker or Jefre-Cantu Ledesma (who appeared on Toxic City Music), Caminiti’s sounds are impossible to pick apart, but as his melted-together blend envelops the listener, inky patterns begin to appear. Some arrive in torrents, such as “Plume,” where a heavy ringing guitar tone rises and crashes in increasingly distorted waves. Others offer an eerie calm, like the bruised synth delicately looping through “Russian Palm”; “For Mika” opens with a jangling insect-like trill before revealing the ghostly echo of a club track buried under mountains of delay. That track in particular offers a pathway into Varispeed Hydra’s most exciting qualities.

Caminiti’s first experiments with techno and dub music go back to the final Barn Owl albums, and Varispeed Hydra reconnects with club music in surprising ways. The grim “Radio Rome” and the laser-dappled “Morphogenesis” recall the icy experimental dub of UK producers like Parris. And much like Helm’s similarly nature-defiling Chemical Flowers, Caminiti’s album loops textures in ways that generate absorbing rhythms without necessarily creating beats. The album was inspired by performances at both the Tokyo nightclub Dommune and New York’s Issue Project Room, a haven for experimental music, and its ability to bridge those very different environments is one of its biggest strengths.

Part of what makes Varispeed Hydra so potent is its relative brevity. Both the dramatic shifts and recurring sounds gain power over the album’s 35-minute span, but they stop short of overwhelming the listener. Caminiti seems aware of the momentum he’s creating as each track pulls you to the next; like a good improviser, he knows when to set up an ending. The closer, “Carnation,” reaches a surreal equilibrium: The synths flare like jazz horns, and the birds circle back. It’s an elegant finish, right down to the abrupt, plug-pulling cut to silence. Caminiti has developed a labyrinthine sound, and navigating it makes Varispeed Hydra a mysterious and enticing listen.

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Evan Caminiti - Varispeed Hydra Music Album Reviews Evan Caminiti - Varispeed Hydra Music Album Reviews Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on April 24, 2020 Rating: 5


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