Review: Concrete/Field – A Theory Of Psychic Geography

Concrete Field - A Theory Of Psychic GeographyPerimeter music. I never get there. I skirt the edge and peer inward, fixed upon my line of orbit by the curiosity that drags toward the centre and the mysterious magnetic repulsion that counters it. The record is a narrow avoidance of collision, or a storm cloud in a state of eternal pregnancy. I am born and terminated within an infinite prelude, like water held at 99 degrees Celsius: the music sloshes and quivers in preparation, and even as instruments look ready to buckle or glow under the dissonant, inter-texture agitation, the situation retains its queasy and unlikely state of equilibrium. There is no motion either forward or back, but equally the term “stillness” feels wholly inappropriate. Instead, the instruments seem to climb and slide between eachother like the two strands of a helix, twisting into snarling, begrudging intimacy and slipping away from eachother again. An awkward orbital stasis.

“Zone Of Avoidance” sounds like a lawnmower drowning itself in a sea of jelly, the motor chopping through the bouncing spew of gelatine. Chickenf1sh’s electronic conjurations thrive off of these dream-like blends of real-life sensation and hallucinogenic skews: swaying plants made of luminous foam, a dozen industrial radiators united in gurgled song, frogs licking pond water filled with binary digit debris. The materials feel like semi-solid holograms – pliable, gooey, three-dimensional – and while there’s no doubt that most of these sounds arise out of electronic synthesis, they are plump and moist in a manner than seems to defy the membrane of pure sound. Squint and I can see them; concentrate and I can touch them. And yet each piece is ultimately out of my grasp, striking its connection via peripheral glances and delicate skips against my fingertips, hung nanometres out of reach. “Remember Your Controllers” flashes like the dot on a submarine radar, lurking in close proximity. I’m six tracks in my this point, and while I know full well that it’ll never reach me, I become stiff and anxious within its radius of threat.