Review: Robert Curgenven – SIRÈNE

Robert Curgenven - Sirene“Not a kind of nostalgia or looking back nor a looking forward into a future but instead seeing time, lineage, nationhood as a process and a continuum of change.”

In which case, the past ripples with uncertainty in the same way the future does, and thus the notions of precursion and consequence are suddenly more ambiguous. All the while, the air billowing out of the pipe organ feels thicker just for being audible, clung into restlessly harmonic clouds that sweep everything into a state of transience and circumvention; within the crackle of wax is the sound of dehydrated leaves skating on autumnal earth, and within the tension of the organ’s lower notes is the throb of helicopter blades carving streaks into an ocean wind. I float within movement and eternal transformation, and the only stillness is my constant sensory engagement with Curgenven’s music; in other words, the regenerative, unending flow of the present tense.

As I listen back through SIRÈNE again, my mind veers toward the stereo perimeter, where I hear the hiss of cold air displaced by the upsurge of musical warmth, gentle feedback catching the microphone like lens flare gliding diagonally through the frame, and the claps and scrapes of human movement over to the far right of the image. The “edge” of the record feels like the point at which the stability of the present tense vaporises into transient myth; the air is thinner, more difficult to grasp, as the echoes of activity teeter on my perceptual periphery. The liner notes speak of how J.M.W. Turner allegedly had himself tied to the mast of the ship Ariel during a snowstorm back in the 1840s. Despite it being unlikely that such an event actually happened, there is still a sense of irrefutable truth in what Curgenven calls Turner’s “unmediated experience through his embodiment”. As I hover in the midst of SIRÈNE, cradled in the cracks and pulsations that flare on either side to hold me in some sort of quivering goblet, I imagine Turner to exist, simultaneously but somewhere else, in his own sensory now. Like two planets, we drift together – not bound by an awareness of eachother, but somehow connected by the isolated awareness of our own bodies.