Boomkat Product Review:
NYC modular doyen Gavilán Rayna Russom expands her creative framework with this charged four-movement exploration of gender, tonality, harmony and timbre. Utterly time-stopping deep listening material that reconciles the output of Wendy Carlos, Pauline Oliveros, Laurie Spiegel and Suzanne Ciani.
Longform Edition's most exciting offering to date, this almost 72-minute composition from Gavilán Rayna Russom truly lives up to the label's philosophy, thriving in the glory of its duration and pace. It's the kind of piece that progresses so subtly it demands your attention just to make sure you're tuning into to its narrative. Russom has divided the piece into four distinct sections that play sequentially in a divine evolution, the first is a soft-focus kosmische slow-burner that builds into an almost-rhythm before disappearing into the second movement's smeared electronic mists. The second piece sounds as metallic and urgent as Wendy Carlos's influential "Sonic Seasonings", but made weightless, shifted into liminality.
The third movement, "Beauty", is the album's most heart-stopping piece. Simply but alarmingly effective, it focuses on a looping phrase that's echoed into movement, wobbling under a heaving blur like Arthur Russell jamming with Robert Turman. Little prepares you for its final phase, a phasing rhythmic experiment that pits hissing white noise against 4/4 hats and low-end hums. It's a suitably intense finale to an album that drags us through the history of deep, synthesized music and challenges us to listen.
Russom was influenced to write the album after watching a documentary about electronic music that ignored the relationship between synthesis and gender, and neglected the connections between trans femininity and composition with electronic sounds. So the opening movement, entitled 'Elegy', was composed to celebrate women who have been thrust into the shadows or neglected over the decades. This opening inspired Russom to meditate on gender within electronic music not as a binary or reactionary oppositional force but as something that harmonizes with sonic relationships, like timbre or tonality. She manages to explore these ideas gracefully, digging into her history of listening and dancing ("dancing is listening, listening is dancing") to create a piece of electronic music that sounds historic but also cleaved from the timeline, existing in its own special space.