Boomkat Product Review:
Absorbing, metaphysical, ambient-techno insights from the mysterious, Tea-loving Sa Pa on Mana; the hard-to-categorise label run by Blowing Up The Workshop’s Matthew Kent and Andrea Zarza of the British Library Sound Archive.
Flowing on from Mana’s Luc Ferrari and O Yama O audities, the label’s first release of 2019 keeps their aesthetics wide open and in flux between illusive sound design and subaquatic rhythm structures in a vein shared by classic Porter Ricks and Vladislav Delay.
Like Sa Pa’s previous albums for Giegling’s Forum and his work in the Rausch trio with Marcel Dettmann and Felix K, the sound of ‘In A Landscape’ continues to roll with a systolic vitality, seemingly getting under the skin of ambient and techno zones proper in order to dwell in the liminal, hypnagogic space where it’s hard to tell whether it’s night or day, or we’re experiencing waking life or deep dream time.
With remarkable sound sensitivity, the artist manipulates field recordings (including some salvaged from a field recorder thought lost during the raids on Bassiani last year) to generate thick, hazy layers of half-heard ambience and thrumming bass pulses that slosh with a fine appreciation of brownian motion and impressionistic electronic enigma.
If you love electronic music for its ability to emulate altered mental or physical states, then the way Sa Pa vacillates tone, texture, and mercurial emotions between the atomic crumble of ‘Ripsketch’, and the wide-open tract of dub techno that encompasses side D, will surely light up the imagination like a night sky seen from another planet.