Boomkat Product Review:
Swiss artist Büchi untangles a knotted ribbon of modular synth rhythm and extruded symphonic arrangement for voice and electronics in her absorbing, wormholing contribution to the Longform Editions series
‘Paroxysm’ forms a strong leap forward from the drier sketches of her 2020 debut ‘Matière’ with a tumbling development of offbeat rhythms recalling algorithmic Autechre efforts and the most warped works of Laurel Halo sucked feet first into a vacuum. A persistently mutating percussive pattern unweaves the carpet below your feet and up your legs as vocals are backcombed into mind-bending stereo contrails against buckled symphonic strings contours and corkscrewing electro-acoustic aspects.
We’ll allow the artist to elucidate: “Actually it’s quite simple: there are short sounds, and there are long sounds. Among them there are harmonic and disharmonic sounds. I am interested in shapes based on these very simple parameters—concrete sound shapes that I can mould any way I want, like a sculpture, and create relations among those shapes.
My piece Paroxysm starts from a puristic dry rhythmic structure. The second part then goes into a fusion of rhythm and harmony. The question that preoccupied me was on one hand how these two main elements of music relate to each other and what shapes they can create together. On another hand I was preoccupied by how the listening behaviour adapts and changes to the compositional structure and sound events.
The sound world in this piece is characterised by warm, dense, orchestral and at the same time by very filigree, dry, electro-acoustic sounds. I also used my own voice in interlaced harmonic shapes that are made rhythmic, giving the overall mood an almost sacral character. My voice appears fragmental and tries to assert itself in the complexity of the rhythm. Slowly everything degrades into polyrhythmic structures, with harmonic components taking the upper hand more and more. The listening behaviour is redirected here. The harmonies are repeatedly broken abruptly by the rhythm.
I work across genres in my music. Familiar elements from classical music, jazz, folk and also techno can be recognised. There is nature, and the outside world to hear, made of plastic, metal, wood, water and earth. The subject of matter continues to occupy me in my musical work, and I try to get as close as possible to the physical world through sound.”