Boomkat Product Review:
A spiritual and thematic companion of sorts to PAN’s breathtaking 'Mono No Aware', this excellent artefact from highly promising Berlin/London collective, C.A.N.V.A.S revolves around curious new musics by Object Blue, Ben Vince, Flora Yin-Wong, Ashley Paul, Ausschuss, Xao, Michael Speers and others, a hugely absorbing set that veers from new mutations of ambient-pop thru to electro-acoustic terraforming and expressive minimalism.
The performance collective-turned-label’s 4th release surveys a broad range of ideas running the gamut from electro-ambient abstraction to percussive studies and wave songs, all underlined by a mutual, coherent search for novel sounds that question ideas of authorship in a shared pool of codified ideas and techniques.
Where the label’s first two releases by project coordinators Olan Monk and Lugh O’Neill established sprawling vectors crossing ambient-pop, Actress-style greyscale iridescence, and dreamily disembodied voices, here they both play into a bigger, more complex picture, highlighting a wide spectrum of subterranean thought and composition within the context of electronic music.
Listeners are encouraged to draw their own links between the disparities; Xao’s opening gambit ‘Quintal’ unfolds a beguiling translation from ghostly mechanical gulls and aerial turbulence to lush ambient and back, while Flora Yin-Wong’s ‘Murmures’ describes an ethereal, chamber-like mutation of traditional Chinese tones, while Michael Speers’ wormholing abstraction gives way to Ashley Paul’s bittersweet asymmetric ambient pop masterpiece ‘Sleep Walker’.
Label cofounders Lugh and Olan Monk are next, respectively, with an Oval-esque glitch meltdown ‘Hot Mess’, and the curdled minimal wave dirge ‘Seph’, before Ben Vince’s sky-searching beauty ‘Fading in Panoramio’ holds your breath until the rawly expressive minimalism of object blue’s ‘Fourteen Boulders, Fifteen Stones.’ closes the set with a glassy, uncompromising take on prepared and disfigured percussion.
’Cipher’ is one of those rare compilations that exceeds the sum of its parts, focusing on how artists hold their voice within increasingly borderless and shared languages in new music. Those of you looking to discover some of the most interesting tributaries flowing into the contemporary scene right now would be well advised to dive deep into this one.