MYSTERY SEA 64 | Philip
Sulidae | [Banish]
The island lay, still, and alone waiting
for the wind to return
when the damp air tumbled through, slowly, a chasm formed
the chasm widened between the island and the sea
and in the cold corners of the sea floor, the housing of brittle memories
inside, the bones of rodents.
maverick & textural soundscaper Philip Sulidae
has honed his singular tactile style far from the shining spotlights,
and mainly through a set of concise evoking self-released mini cdrs
on his own Dontcaresulidae imprint...
Making coincide various, disparate musical forms, imposing their own
direction, he crushes them together to focus on specific timbres, found
sounds, & both at the surface, and in-depth irregularities... His
ensuing carefully crafted aural landscapes are as many mysterious
imaginary places to visit, swarming with potentialities...
It didn't thus last very long before other net/labels expressed due
interest, and so, works came to fruition for Ripples, Audio Gourmet,
and Audiotalaia, for instance... More is to come, undoubtedly...
Sulidae handles definitely an intriguing palette of
sounds that causes oblivion & an innermost uncommon emotional experience...
"Banish" with its single flow divided in
five distinct movements is an invitation to drift along a dark elusive
stream straight into the chasm of the Unknown...
Our island frays
with all the sunken memories,
And we listen closely to the wind tales,
recomposing the fragments,
lulling us to sleep in false comfort...
all those lost echoes
lies a piece of truth,
a disguised light,
a calming voice,
taking us through and out of the dark...
in those moments of friction,
whistling & collision,
things take another turn...
with our inner flux,
a nameless pulse,
let your perception alter, and grow along an enhanced reality...
02. Judge and Clerk Islets
03. Bishop and Clerk Islets
04. Bouvet -
05. Fata Morgana
CDR ltd to 100 numbered copies
VITAL WEEKLY 755|Frans
The work of Philip Sulidae came us via some releases
on his own label and Ripples Recordings and expands now into the world
of Mystery Sea. The previous release, 'A High Land' (see Vital Weekly
724), seems a bit more roughly edged, but on this new one, Sulidae
seeks out the opposite and it all seems a bit more 'reduced'. The input
is hard to define here. My best guess is that its something to do with
motorized objects - maybe boats in the water? - which are then fed through
some radical equalization to bring out hidden sonic qualities. There
is only a mild aquatic theme to this, lesser it seems that on some of
the other releases on this label. The water sounds collide with the
ship that this is recorded in. A modest release in terms of sound, but
with a great refined quality to it.
Australian droner Sulidae
specializes in sharp, gravely compositions of ashen black ambiences
and his debut Mystery Sea release is no exception..
His previous releases on his own 'dontcaresulidae' label have been a
punishing listen without ever having to resort to anything as crass
as excessive volume or bludgeoning distortion. Philip's
music is the sound of storm wracked desolation and wretched lonely isolation
as one is cut off from the outside world stranded within its eye.
wonderful wooden reasons
--- NEW !
Australian Philip Sulidae is
neither novice nor veteran, his MS debut coming preceded by a number
of self releases of deep wallowing in inky depths washed with gravelly
ambience. His music is grainy, verging on noisy, often with buried melodies
trapped inside a gauzy, howling haze, the deliberate atmospheric disturbance
endowing proceedings with a hallucinatory allure. Discernible sources
- field recordings, guitar, feedback - are effaced within a roiling
miasma of sound. Such brackish waters now flow into his Banish,
albeit couched in a more reduced idiom than previous, not so much ear-ache
volume or brain-wrack distortion as possessed of a certain single-minded
gruelling quality, immediately evident on the opening statement, "VKØ".
Source material - "Bouvet" suggests a motorized craft and
its environs - is fed through some state-altering devices to peal and
reveal what lies below. Sulidae trafficks far more
in found sounds than, say, Sea-scaper Sheffield(elsewhere here), with
more irregularity and grain in Banish's sluggish drone-flow.
Darker too than Sheffield’s vision, the resonances providing a
glimmer of dread now and then (see "Bishop And Clerk Islets").
It's a reined in and reduced sound, but one of great intensity and a
certain refinement, however caustic, conjuring up something of the sound
of storm-wracked desolation and of the hermetic enforced isolation eponymously
--- NEW !
I recently reviewed two fine releases
on Daniel Crokaert’s Unfathomless
label. Daniel also runs Mystery Sea, which like Unfathomless is a themed
label. So one way into Australian Philip Sulidae’s
Banish would be to figure out how he goes about addressing
the label’s mission or aesthetic which runs as follows:
-…..a vehicle for revealing
highly immersive music,
soundmantras making us connect with our innermost selves
& get in touch with an evanescent reality far beyond words…
…black seas of mystery, rolling out their infinite waves…
echoes inhaling the stellar breath…
this is a mirrored journey, an endless refraction of our labyrinthine
& spiraling emotions…
So there you have it – a highly imaginative fantasy world with
profound psychological resonances.
This is reinforced by what Daniel has to say about his work, summarized
-“Banish” reconciles us
with our inner flux,
a nameless pulse,
the Unexplained…let your perception alter,
and grow along an enhanced reality…-
Then there’s the work itself, five tracks of what I would say
touches on the dark ambient. I’ve heard music like this before,
characterized by dense textures, quasi-tonal intrusions (you’ll
hear what I mean if you buy the album), repetitive waves of sound with
slow modulations of various kinds. It’s the sort of immersive
music where you lie flat out, let it soak in and figure out if it all
works for you.
Track 1, VKO, foregrounds a big low frequency indeterminate sound, repetitive,
like a muffled foghorn, or possibly a train passing through the room.
It is highly musical across a range of parameters, composed with an
electroacoustic sensibility. The ebb and flow of large waves of sound
are evident early on, becoming a strong characteristic of the whole
album and possibly addressing the theme directly, as in waves of sound
breaking over the listener. Possibly.
Two points here: I should note that one reviewer suggests that some
or all of the album was recorded on a boat. I can’t find any reference
to this anywhere else but I’ll take his word for it. Who knows?
Secondly, I couldn’t tell where track 2, Judge and Clerk
Islets, stopped and track 3, Bishop and Clerk Islets, began. There seems
to be a glitchy dropout between the two tracks, an odd moment in an
otherwise finely edited album.
We are introduced to a range of environmental sound: birds, machines,
very rich in surface detail, but not over sweet and creamy (like marshmallows
in your hot chocolate). Again the music settles quickly into waves,
large quantum packets of sound. By way of contrast a musical tonal(ish)
drone pokes through the low mid end of the spectrum, tipping the mood
or style of the unfolding work towards the filmic, reinforced later
by hissy repetitive sounds against a busy not quite foregrounded high
frequency crackling texture. There is much to be admired in the balance
and the pace of the emerging abstract narrative. Occasionally the repetitiveness
and film-sound atmosphere (alien/sci-fi film sound) left me wondering
where we were going, or indeed if we were going anywhere at all, but
this is perhaps the whole point of ambient music, if this is what we
have here. Before monotony sets in, however, the soundscape opens
out beautifully, like mist clearing, giving way as suddenly to
a measure of confusion with contradictory reverberated spaces, trains
(?) again, movement, a sudden dropout.
This sound that I think is like a train (or perhaps it’s a ship) becomes
quite dominant, like a signature sound, even if it seems to
be in the background, if that makes sense. I had the impression of one
or more enormous vehicles of some sort slowing down, or stuck idling
in neutral. All of which is well contrasted with a steady textural passage
towards the end, where the captivating and engaging material might be
the result of human intervention. For a real treat have a close listen
on headphones to enjoy the wealth of gestural detail in the background,
very impressively mixed. I think I finally caught a flavour of some
real sea at the end (of track 4).
Overall, my reading of these two tracks is that they give off numerous
quasi-narrative hints, but I was left wondering whether the sounds are
of sufficient interest to sustain the emerging narrative, whether some
of the waves go on for their own sake, not a problem per se, but confusing
for obsessive compulsives like me.
Track 4, Bouvet, works with the same film music sounds as before, placed
behind various field recordings, and offering a wonderful sense of spaciousness
if not location. I’d have set this one going to Tarkovsky’s
Solaris for an interesting treat. With the loops set in motion, the
careful layering, the sense of patience and deliberation and finally
the linear form, this comes over as a well composed piece with strong
sonic, if perhaps not conceptual, interest.
The last track, Fata Morgana (a kind of mirage), is similar in
many ways to Bouvet. Again the listener will be rewarded with close
listening for hidden detail: various crackles, machine hisses and pops,
suggesting comparisons with textile manufacture – strands woven
together, different colours and fabrics offering quite a living tapestry
After all that what I’m left with is the feeling that Philip
Sulidae’s originality lies in his gentle touch, like
an instrumentalist who surprises you with the delicacy of their playing,
like Bartok, apparently, at the piano.