Review: Christopher Hipgrave – Slow, with Pages of Fluttering Interference

Slow, with Pages of Fluttering Interference is a release based around subtlety – everything from the casual drift of the music to the vagueness of the track-titles (with the tracks themselves slipping into one another with a soft fluidity). This latest release from Christopher Hipgrave doesn’t exist as a statement of concrete intent, nor to impose itself brashly on the listener. It just exists as a release very much immersed in its own world, not consciously inviting the listener in, but not pushing them away either.

Much of Slow… is fluid drones, with hints of chord progressions and obliviousness to time and tempo, occasionally scattered with electronic fire crackle and the soft purr of static. It lasts 42 minutes, but after a few back-to-back listens the duration begins to feel irrelevant – the album can quite comfortably loop on itself an infinite amount of times without the need of a “start” or “stop”.

The real dilemma with Slow, with Pages of Fluttering Interference is how best to listen to it. The album will quite comfortably melt into the back of your mind, but to do so is to ignore the gorgeous array of inflections that exist in amongst the seemingly simple ambient flow – it’s fascinating how such conscious effort has gone towards a product so at home in the subconscious, with each delicately applied detail designed to be just heard and not listened to.

The Low Point press release states how some of the sounds “seem to emanate from some strange electronic machine”. I like this description a lot. Slow… is far too human to be machine-like in atmosphere, but it’s certainly machine-like in manner. It doesn’t need a listener to exist, quite capable of playing out to itself and feeding off the warm energy it produces.

It’s not a work of striking originality, nestling very comfortably in amongst what may considered to be “electronic ambient”, but so casual and sedated is the attitude of the album that it becomes very hard to care. Slow, with Pages of Fluttering Interference is brilliant for the way that it does everything right, and does everything that it should – purely because it doesn’t set out to do anything to start with other than to simply exist.