Anthony Child - Electronic Recordings From Maui Jungle Vol. 2

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  • Anthony Child might have the right idea about the concept of a "working vacation." After years of workmanlike dedication to crafting techno as Surgeon, with classic albums like 1997's Basictonalvocabulary and 1999's Force + Form, he took a decade-long break from making LPs. While he returned with Breaking The Frame and From Farthest Known Objects, which showed he still has a spartan way with techno, he's used his given name for a series of digressions that reveal a less rigorous but dedicated exploration of sound, be they unspooling drones or off-the-cuff improvs. In 2015, he decamped to Maui with some gear for Electronic Recordings From Maui Jungle Vol. 1. The process of conjuring minimal miniatures in a tropical setting was freeing enough that he booked a return trip to the jungle early in 2016, his Buchla Music Easel in tow. Recorded in Haiku-Pauwela, Maui, Child produced 14 tracks in 12 days. There's a looseness here that's diametrically opposed to his work as Surgeon, favoring the nebulous over the precise, the open-ended over the perfectly executed. It suggests the Berlin School by way of a Pauline Oliveros "Deep Listening" workshop, though the end results aren't quite as immersive as that might suggest. Sometimes the openness works well. On "Old Technology" Child uses the Buchla to create an eerie glow that wanders amid field recordings of the jungle, with distant cries of insects and amphibians filling the open spaces. There's a deft balance of white noise, dynamics and cricket chirps on "A Nightfall Of Diamonds," making it sparkle. "Colonisation" uses a primitive electronic pulse and a patch that sounds like a bamboo flute, building to a furious conclusion that makes its three-minute runtime feel far too short. A gentle patter of percussion on "5000 Spirits" evokes a mellow tribal feel. Ranging from one minute to seven, these pieces come across as sketches, and little more. As Child lets them evolve as they may, they don't always merit return visits. "Amoré" pulls up taffeta-like arpeggios only to let them waft off rather than settle into a shape. Just as "Super Sacred Sunday" starts to lock into a tightening pattern, Child lets it all go, allowing it to dissolve back into the night air. Perhaps at another time these pieces might have felt more evocative, but in a year that brought us Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith's astonishing Buchla work on EARS and Black Merlin's menacing way with jungle field recordings on Hipnotik Tradisi, these pieces don't quite stick like they should.
  • Tracklist
      01. Open Channeling 02. Truth Is Healing 03. Old Technology 04. I Remember 05. Amoré 06. Nine Personality Type Map 07. Colonisation 08. Super Sacred Sunday 09. A Nightfall Of Diamonds 10. Relational Constellations 11. Cellular Reintegration 12. Wyatt's Inspection 13. 5000 Spirits 14. Farthest Known Object