Latest project from Britton is both: fascinating and scary. What fascinates me is a three-dimensional vision and strong imaginary feeling of the soundscapes, which are always very perspective rich and taking as much from the music as they do from his formal training as an Architect. What scares is a feeling of an unavoidable catastrophe which had been already described in post-apocalyptic fiction.
It starts with Psychic Zero (here Britton revers to Ballard’s Terminal Beach novel with a subject being a Pacific Atoll in fictional post -nuclear future). He also refers to the sculpture called Empty Lot, by Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas, touching the subject of an existentialism and hope. I remember this work presented in 2016 in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall space. And that feeling of facing a situation of being hopeless. I believe that He must have built this idea on a similar sense of isolation which I experienced there, to the degree that I can still recall it in my head.
As we are leading now in the food chain, in this very moment, when species are disappearing from the planet due to our greediness and complete lack of common sense. It starts with a synthesised, Geiger counter like sound, splitting into partitions, dropping and rising, drilling channels inside the chambers of your head. Finally achieving some sense of the Harmony and pace which only nature can bring and set. Like a dance of simple bodies inside the oceanic abyss. But this Harmony is only one of the lines, when in the same sonic space, different amplitudes are breaking it with twisted, cold brutality and completely unexpected perspectives. Multiple imaginations are coming to your head, like sliding on some sharp unfriendly surface, or browsing frequencies, with nothing logical coming out but distortion. All of them keep adding to the sense of isolation.
Following Atoll Song, after over 23 minutes the apocalypse comes as a relief. Over looped choir of the single voice has something healing in its tissue. Maybe it is a sense of hope coming from the child’s timbre of the voice, maybe repetitive motive in a major key, or both.
But it breaks nicely through the depressive reality of the sonic landscape and gives you some trust in Natures Wisdom which is always going to find a way to survive, with Us, or without, more likely.
Closing this little Suite, an over 17-minute piece called Eb-Ub-Ob-Aa has more spacious character and almost humoristic aspect in its percussive samples coming into trivial, but charming melody patterns. With looped two tonal voice figures, balancing on the edge of onomatopoeic sounds and phrases with almost recognisable sounds and meanings, giving you a comforting feeling that everything going to come to the happy end, despite of all the mess. Finally, the hypnotic trip, coming into some understandable reality of words which you can finally quote, or even find some order in the sequences they are building up and the feel of awakening and resurfacing from the deep trans takes over.
As you can guess it is not easy listening music but for those who dare to submerge into it, a sweet reward will come. Sam’s trips on the other hand are never Lassie Come Home like anyway.