fri 17/08/2018

CD: Gaussian Curve - Clouds | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Gaussian Curve - Clouds

CD: Gaussian Curve - Clouds

An improvised musical soup that boasts broth without the noodles

Gaussian Curve - intuitive, improvised, irresistable

Ever wondered what being a psychic would be like? Not the "being a fraudulent, cheap-trick magician drunk on the mere suggestion of power over a willing and eager mark" thing – but really being able to know people’s thoughts as they think them. In reality, hearing the insipid mind-screams of strangers would be spirit-crushingly dull, like watching Question Time without the mute button, but there is a less prosaic window into the mind that music offers us – improvisation.

Gaussian Curve is a project featuring ambient veteran Gigi Masin, Land of Light multi-instrumentalist Jonny Nash and electronic producer Young Marco. Clouds is the result of improvised sessions that took place over a weekend in Amsterdam. Putting aside the fact they managed to get anything done at all while other visitors were busy grabbing at their own hallucinations, this is a remarkable album. The voices are clear and clearly defined – Gigi Masin’s Rhodes floats gently over what could easily be Young Marco remixes of Land of Light tracks – which is pretty much job done right there. But while there are moments of languid lucidity, the really interesting stuff happens in the tentative, building back and forth as confidence, structure and thought processes build.

“Impossible Island” is a great example. The song’s dynamic takes place in something of an audio tunnel – bottom and top are strictly defined – and this means there’s little to play with. Nuance and tone become the defining factors and this plays to the ensemble’s strengths. Meanwhile, “Broken Clouds” is a similar victory of economy over space with pulsating, rhythmic keys providing the bedrock for the understated guitar-as-pad-synth tones and atmospheres.

Of all the eight tracks, “The Longest Road” is, perhaps, the pinnacle of this process. It's the most fully realised song on the album, yet it feels as embedded as its neighbours – more defined perhaps – but certainly cut to the same pattern with similar care and attention to detail. The fact that this is all done on-the-fly is a startling achievement and one that gives us a glimpse of magic we can believe in.

Overleaf: Listen to "Impossible Island"

The really interesting stuff happens as confidence, structure and thought processes begin to build

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters