D’incise – Are fishes nihilist? (all this is not realistic)November 30, 2012
Now here is a really very nice little CD. I have written quite a few times, pretty much always enthusiastically about the music of D’incise, the laptop/objects/textures musician best known as one half of the Diatribes duo. It has been a pleasure to be able to follow his work and hear it mature through a relatively prolific series of releases. Here then is a little three inch CD on the Kaon label with a curious title that is, I think, possibly his best work yet. Are fishes nihilist? (all this is not realistic) is part of an ongoing series of discs on Kaon that see musicians create new works using field recordings made by someone else. For this release D’incise utilises recordings made by Cédric Peyronnet, who I think has something to do with the label. Its possible that the other discs in the series also use Peyronnet’s recordings, but this isn’t clear.
In his liner notes D’incise talks of how difficult he found the task of working with someone else’s recordings. How much should he alter? How much should be left alone? Is it important for the remaining sounds to resemble something of what they began life as? D’incise doesn’t really answer these questions in his notes, but the music here provides answers, plus some further questions for the listener. The work stretches the 3″ format to its very limit, clocking in at a little under twenty-four minutes, and on the whole the music is very quiet, consisting of lengths of textured sound, sometimes shimmering tonal passages, sometimes white noise hissing, some parts full of more detail than others. For the most part the hint of field recordings, and field recordings of the most traditional kind- birdsong, running water etc can be heard in the music, but they are just far enough removed to always be never easily identifiable. So everything feels very calm and still, though actually if you turn the volume right up and listen carefully there is always quite a lot going on in there, with sometimes three or four different sounds to be heard at one time, and in places everything bubbling together in a little cauldron of mostly hidden activity.
In many ways the music on Are fishes nihilist? (all this is not realistic) is somewhat generic- releases of processed field recordings layered over one another are ten a penny right now, but D’incise here works with a sensitivity towards textures and how they interact that stands out above most of his peers. What he does on this little disc may not be particularly original, but the way he does it suggests that a great deal of considered thought and experimentation went into this construction. The different sections slide over one another easily in places, collide into one another in others, but this music wasn’t made by just putting things together to see what happens, clearly much attention has been paid to the subtle narrative of the work. The way the source material has been treated, the way that the distant sense of how nature moves from left to right in unbroken lines has been preserved in the music, and the low volume reminds me a lot of the mid-period work of Bernhard Günter, and that, in my opinion is high praise indeed. Fine work then, likely to be overlooked by most.