Boomkat Product Review:
crys cole's transfixing Documenting Sound album "Other Meetings" finally makes its way to vinyl via Oren Ambarchi's Black Truffle. Two microscopically detailed, nuanced long-form compositions constructed from household objects, environmental recordings and a broken synthesizer. We've gone back to this album so many times - the section of amplified small sounds inspired by the royal temple in Bangkok especially destroys us...
Is there anyone doing diaristic lower-case sound work quite like crys cole? Her addition to the Documenting Sound series was its quietest and most crystalline, and perfectly showcased her unique process, trapping the “surreal mix of calm and domestic routine” that quarantine brought in 2019 in amber for us all to reflect on in years to come. Grounded in her Berlin apartment and working with a stripped-down setup, cole found herself reflecting on recordings made when she was more mobile, layering echoes of Australia, Canada and Thailand with close-knit elements captured on her kitchen table. Somewhere in the process, the sound she was able to create managed to accurately précis her creative voice, a hierarchy-free sonic environment where a coffee pot or a vase of flowers has the same power as fireworks in Winnipeg or bells at a royal temple in Bangkok.
Anyone who's seen cole perform knows the care and restraint she puts into her music; her instruments are arranged neatly and close listening is rewarded with microscopic subtlety. Here, all of that energy is transferred to a recording: it feels almost as if we're sitting at that the kitchen table with cole as she develops barely perceptible rhythms from compressed air blasts and duets with birds and barking dogs in the album's opening act. When she introduces synthesizer sounds - from her bashed up Korg DS8 - it transports us into a surreal, imaginary realm, backed up by processed gnawing rumbles that feel as interstellar as they do grounded in material reality. Blurred-out growling machines take the lead quickly afterwards, sounding like malcontented presences in a near-future cinematic dystopia, before we're shuttled into the outdoors once more - a forest? a beach? cole essentially weaves a fictional sonic utopia, imagining a more vivid world outside the four walls of her apartment.
The second side's first act sees a venting of household clanks that sounds like an anxious mind bursting out of its confines. As the piece hits its mid-section, electronic tones rescue it from claustrophobia and madness; the manic sounds fall away and leave behind tranquil, almost new age drones. Resonant water droplets remind us that we're surrounded by a network of (mostly) invisible pipes and vents, before the album disappears into a deep dream state, swallowed into deep listening feedback loops.