The conversational hiss and clang of steam engine maintenance; the psychological haunt of whispering voices whose plosives pop with bubbles of moisture; the gentle rock of a torch suspended from the ceiling; watching overnight planes besides the splintering stream of a wood fire; re-plumbing the water supply of a military submarine. No matter how hard I concentrate, there are too many characters and locations to consciously ingest in real time. Some sounds brush past my edges, like the cardigan shoulder of a bustling passer by – felt but not thoroughly known – while others seem to alarm me with a sudden, sensory pang upon my conscious mind. There’s a certain psychological unease about the way things unfold, as I cut between lighting matches in a sewer to being pressed up against a nauseating bass frequency in a small metal chamber; I feel sick and unsure of myself, reading the situation with paralysing vertigo one second and then grubby claustrophobia the next.
The real magic within Tricoli’s approach is the elegance of right angles, and the stream of continuum that remains unbroken during sudden inversions of state. Time unravels in a smooth, inseparable manner – in an illusionary real time, if you will – as the stereo image quivers with countless microscopic disconnects. Continuity emerges in the dialogue and overlap of abrupt transitions. I sense the blunt, musique concrete flicker of chopped up tape, and the synthesis cross-fades that carry one sound through an organic evolutionary mutation – he sounds just as adept with scissors as with the most abstract software acronyms and algebraic formulae. As such, I feel as though I exist twice: as an intern in Tricoli’s haphazard sonic laboratory (all tangled tape and urgently flashing lights), and as a passenger in the turbulent tilt and hallucination of my own head.