Martina Lussi’s second album fuses together disparate sound sources with a disorienting quality that reflects the modern climate of dispersion and distraction. The Lucerne, Switzerland- based sound artist released her debut album ‘Selected Ambient’ on Hallow Ground in 2017, and now comes to Latency with a bold new set of themes and processes. The range of tools at her disposal spans field recordings, processed instrumentation, synthesised elements and snatches of human expression. The guitar is a recurring figure, subjected to a variety of treatments from heavy, sustained distortion to clean, pealing notes. Elsewhere the sound of sports crowds and choral singing merge, and patient beds of drones and noise melt into the sounds of industry and mechanics. The track titles manifest as a compositional game of deception complete with innuendos, empty phrases and claims – flirtations with perfume names and ironic assertions. From the volatile geopolitical climate to the changing nature of music consumption in the face of streaming and digital access, ‘Diffusion is a Force’ is a reflection on fractured times where familiar modes and models change their meaning with the ever-quickening pace of communication.
Given that the Axel Libeert-helmed Pablo’s Eye project has been running continuously since the late 1980s, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Stroom has found it hard to put out just one retrospective of the Belgian collective’s work. In fact, “Dark Matter” is the third (and final) part of a retrospective trilogy that has brilliantly shed new light on Libeert and company’s work. Experimental, atmospheric and largely creepy, the showcased material variously touches on high-minded percussion music, slowly shifting ambient, Berlin school soundscapes, neo-classical-tinged global fusion, smoky downtempo grooves, the kind of intensely paranoid fare we’d expect from Dominick Fernow, and scattergun electronic dub. More than anything, Pablo’s Eye is a temporary atmosphere, like a taste or a dream.