As noted on the Kranky release page for Foreign Body, “one could try to assess what part of the album each artist was responsible for, but that would prevent one from seeing the proverbial forest for the trees.” It is true that there are points at which “signature” sounds appear to announce themselves from within the waves, both in terms of timbre and songwriting tendency, but is all as distinguishable as it seems? Perhaps “Mirrorring” refers to the inversion of expected roles; one artist materialising as the other in the reflection, swapping individual identity to occupy a “foreign body” and swirling the concept of musical personality into a murk.
The guitar appears to be the central instrument, caught within various states of FX saturation: dismantled into swampy murmurs at some points, inflected by gentle blurs of delay at others, and often stripped back altogether to let each finger-pluck resound with glacial clarity. One state is tangled into the other, with spikes of plectrum placed haphazardly on top of the reverberant waves, carried forward by their grand dynamic surges. The way in which these guitar forms are combined and juxtaposed is beautifully executed, casting illusion and disorientation into the listener’s sense of place and time. Never better is this demonstrated than with the opening two tracks: the ghostly reverberations of “Fell Sound” feel distant and somewhat rooted in past tense, like the afterglow which gifts a dead star phantom life, while “Silent From Above” cuts instantly into the lively intimacy of the now, capturing each lost breath and metallic twang of string. The album travels between points of time and distance, ultimately occupying a conceptual space that stands separate from them both: an other, a foreign body.
Tags: Foreign Body, Grouper, Kranky, Mirrorring, Tiny Vipers