Goh Lee Kwang - _, And Vice Versa
Guitarist and label boss Goh Lee Kwang remains his prolific self with the new six track "_, And Vice Versa." This is another outing in which Kwang proves that no sound, even, literally, no sound, no matter how brief or obscure, escapes his notice. His work is as much a showcase for paying attention to the world around you as it is about music. His is an ambient-electroacoustic catalog that runs deeper than most.
The opener, "jUctIOn," is built on a screeching pulse, not unlike a bad cassette tape being rewound, with intermittent noisy tones, manages in the end to sound almost whimsical. The thirty seven minute "wEIghtOfwAx" follows, employing silence as its pulse, the only sound being an occasional chirp not unlike a cricket's. The overall effect is of being alone in the wilderness at night, and yet not being afraid. This is matched later by the half as long "wEIghtOfdUst," which is unnerving because here the silence is accompanied only by a low hum, like a mild but indifferent breeze. The remaining three tracks seem like meditations on a single sound or tone, be it abrasive hum or what sounds like buddle-popping. The avian "tOuchpOInt" is the briefest and the most effective.
"_, And Vice Versa" is not easily listening, and critics have already said that there is not much to hear anyway. But the minimalism of Goh Lee Kwang is worth the effort; its centered, focused, leisurely approach to presenting sound is meditative, but challenging as well. Of course, composers have been teaching us to stretch the boundaries of what we think of as music for a century or so, but Kwang deserves to be included among contemporary provocateurs.
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