23 August 2007

Fourm / Steinbruchel - Knot 3 - White_Line Editions - 3" CDr

I'm an unabashed fan of BG Nichols' work whether it's under his Si_Comm or Level guises and now I'm extremely pleased to have experienced his new Fourm project.

Having discovered a recording of a Ralph Steinbruchel live set entitled 'Box' he set about getting permission from the artists to rework the pieces from the CD in his own inimitable style. He duly received a thumbs-up from Steinbruchel and this absolutely marvellous 3" CDr is the end result.

Packaged in a plastic wallet with a set of 4 postcards featuring some rather nice minimalist artwork, the audio content is a re-imagining of the source material using electronic processing to add layers of depth and sparse beauty to the original. Rather than completely deconstructing the work, Nichols approaches the reinterpretations with respect and cunning to provide a compelling series of pieces.

Strictly minimalist, the work is a series of beautifully cultivated layers and rhythmic elements that sits somewhere between his micro-fine high frequency work as Si_Comm and the more lush melancholy ambient sound of his Level project. The effect is strangely soothing, yet has enough edge and background layering to reward thorough listening. That said, however, there's a real ambient overtone, particularly to the first track, 'Knot 3' and this gentle way of easing the listener into the CD pays dividends.

By the time you reach 'Knot 2' you're greeted by an altogether more rhythmic and angular piece of work that, once again, manages to retain a calm and hypnotic feeling whilst dislocating you with off-kilter drops and stutters. The underlying drone is a thing of great beauty and accentuates the overtly a-tonal sound that plays across in tandem with the rhythms.

The final track, 'Knot 1', is yet another superb example of depth in drone. Pulsating and, no doubt bass rumbling bottom end collides with a menacing series of foreground tones that, at times, seem to be trying to communicate with you. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there's a hint of manipulated vocal in there somewhere. Sci-fi minimalism with attitude and the sort of oceanic depth that fans of Richard Chartier or NVO will be extremely pleased to hear.

In essence this is a project of some substance and I'll certainly be looking forward to the next instalment in the series.

Once again Nichols delivers a wonderfully thought provoking and engaging piece of work.

Available as a limited edition of 100 copies from Si_Comm's Myspace page as well as Smallfish Records