MYSTERY SEA 09 | Heath
Yonaites | [Abyssal Plain]
"I approached Abyssal Plain
as an homage to the ocean.
The massiveness of it, the periodic fluctuations of waves, the layers
the audio high end static and glitches are wholly intentional. in my
mind, they represent the mist off waves, the saline particles bouncing,
granules suspended in the fluids and so on.
The deep drones are the currents; the gradual rise and sudden falls
of volume and sound are the waves.
It'll be violent at times, cacophonous and challenging, logical but
chaotic, smooth and harsh.
The ocean is not a mirror but a living organism that can rage and consume,
yet also provide and nurture. It is, after all, the lifeblood of our
planet and our existence. I hope to convey the breadth of all this,
in a way.
Think of it as an experimental soundscape not unlike a classical composer,
a modern tone poem, full of ups and downs. Instead, just blurred and
abstract like the sea."
- Heath Yonaites,
Heath Yonaites is
primarily a US visual artist with an amazing eye for the acutest details...
this unusual eye has contaminated his approach of sound, and guided
his shaping of lifelike visionary worlds which he is so skillful at
sharing with us...
After 3 private releases & extraordinary journeys ("Where",
"Uncertainty & Incompleteness"
& "The Seed Project",
a collaborative effort involving K.M. Krebs) and another
CD reissue on TRIUMVIRATE ("Rim Of The
Sun"), he submits here his own declension of the
MS theme, a rather energetic, uncompromising & inventive exercise
based on the de+reconstruction of short chosen fragments of oceanic
field recordings ...
Certainly his most daring & exploratory work to date...
Plain" is a vast roaring sea lit with the scintillations
of myriads of golden stars & sputtering foam... an expanse of wild
shores & furious waves... a primordial fluid mass bubbling with
granular emissions & dolphin ghostly "talk"...
What we hear is intense, seeping... a huge boiling reservoir of life...
brewing strange scoria, albeit striving for a certain ideal of purity...
Plain" is a meeting with the unique breath of the Ocean
itself & deep inner elemental streams... a cleansing & invigorating
01. WILLIWAW [whistling
psalms to the taffrail] > listen !
02. SURF [a gun cometh to bear]
03. CABBELING [warming the bell]
04. SOLITON [speek the mizen] > listen !
Modern day Renaissance man (supreme
sound sculptor, painter and digital artist extraordinaire, teller of
check out www.yonaites.com/heath for verification and mind-expansion)
Heath Yonaites’ Abyssal Plain
is a masterful,
earthbound follow-up to his cosmic tour de force from 2002, Rim Of The
What makes his work so wonderfully vital is that he does not adhere
to the clichés of…any genre;
genre is inconsequential to Yonaites, what with eclectic
audio displays such as The Seed Project
(with K M Krebs), Where, and the upcoming (in the works)
double-disc, The Ship Of Theseus, completely defying genre,
moving well beyond anything this listener has heard before.
A work like Abyssal Plain might be characterized
as ‘dark ambient’, but it does not lock into the well-worn
(and ultimately boring)
motifs of that genre. It is dark (or, at least, dusky), but as with
Rim… fantastical elements abound, the currency of imagination
here not counterfeit, not derived from the patented guidelines of Dark
Yonaites is an innovator, his ideals and fearlessness
at exploring said ideals, unwavering.
The core sound sources for Abyssal Plain’s manipulations
are “three 3 minute field recordings of Pacific Ocean surf…
one 3 minute field recording of a Lake Michigan harbor.”
The four tracks and 56-minutes that unfold from these sources are of
phenomenal depth and whimsical daring.
He does not simply stretch and mold the sounds into droning seascapes—he
twists, dives in and sinks to the ocean floor,
before rising to shimmer on the sun-dappled surface,bending sounds in
inconceivable ways!“Williwaw (Whistling Psalms To The Taffrail)”
opens as if adrift, tapping textures sounding like splintered atmospheric
flotsam upon re-entry (back from the trip to the rim of the sun?!),
prismatic like shards of stained glass. But then, as the shards congeal,
a mysterious life seems to rise from within.
The turbulence that follows melds the ocean with a more scraping, electronic
Moody, soft-edged bubbles bob on the suddenly calm surface
(abrupt transitions are not foreign to Yonaites’
work, though surprisingly they never hinder the fluid flow),
before more sounds scour, scratch and blip (like aquatic crickets),
while wind caresses the glassy surface as the track ends.
Yes, there is a lot going on, and yet, every sound has its own space.
A mysterious melody introduces “Surf (A Gun Cometh To
Bear)” overtaken by speaker rattling tides and general
and yet, a tinny drone threaded beneath holds things together,
reminder of something musical at the periphery, amidst the rhythmic,
static splashing that follows.
Tension simmers—maybe that’s the sound of underwater volcanoes
coming to life--before the melody that began
the track wanders back into focus.
“Cabbeling (Warming The Bell)” sounds like it is
enveloped within the ocean—underwater--the sense of pressure pushing
at the sides only alleviated by the synth-like droning tonality draped
over it, like tarp on a pool, but much vaster in scope.
And yet a sense of loneliness, of floating above the oppressive embrace
of the ocean in a lifeboat amidst nothing but water,
water, everywhere, is prevalent, dotted with illusive,
jittery sounds that could only be witnessed by one so far from land;
of unknown birds that streak across twilight skies,
their uncommon voices painting the oncoming eve in capricious sonic
shadings. The tides seem to mimic the breath of the ocean itself…
And then, amidst the strangeness that has unfolded, the ultimate in
peculiarity arises as clipped, clattering noises open the portal for
truly unique…otherworldly vocalizations!?!
Hiccupping, subdued bleats, squirming, elastic nuances, throaty and
unreal and alien, yes, alien,
as if we are eavesdropping on a conversation amongst extraterrestrial
beings (and whose to say that, out here, the middle of nowhere and
floating, other beings don’t regularly cavort?), before shifting
to an almost spiritual sequence,
whistles and whispers to the heavens, to homes far away, and then, waves
the new morning sun harshly coloring the proceedings in stark tones
that jarringly glimmer,
rising to overwhelm everything with its blinding presence as reflected
on the slate blue sea.
“Soliton (Speek The Mizen)” continues with the
otherworldly ambience, as tentacles lash from below at the sun-stricken
skin of the ocean.
Crustacean clacking abounds, synths drone uncertainly, clouds crowd
into the sky, darkness descends.More sounds filter through the Yonaites'
encyclopedic imagination: echoes sounding like unseen subterranean traffic
(out here--how can that be?), of bristles scrubbing sunken ships, of
quivering creatures that shimmy and retreat…
pensive tones…a different alien vocal quality— is this the
language of something from the outer limits,
or something from the unexplored deeps of our very own Earth?
There’s more, shifting again, a heartbeat gleaned, and haunting,
ghostly essences derived (perhaps) from one of the sunken ships,
water-bound spirits,trapped for eternity in a liquid limbo.
Open your ears to an original; open your mind to the possibilities!
Highly recommended above whatever you were thinking of buying…
and most everything else.
I stand in awe of everything I have heard (seen, read) from Mr. Yonaites
(and wait until you hear the incomparably audacious sounds of the disc
hinted at above!!!)!
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