Increasingly, it becomes difficult to separate actual guitar from the unnatural twitches of electronic processing. Mart Soo’s playing is riddled with snap decisions and intentional failures; the insatiable scurries of human fingers, scampering away from particular portions of the fretboard only to become hopelessly tangled up elsewhere. He fidgets and flinches, subsumed by the sudden urge to babble in tongues of muddy free jazz, wailing solo and pinch harmonic machine. States are never fixed; each gesture trembles with the energy that will feed the next imminent transformation, forever wriggling away from its current shape so as not to be abandoned in the stasis of the past. The input of Scott Miller often exaggerates this sentiment of peril, pressing guitar notes into surreal bends and digital collapses, pushing just beyond the boundary of corporeal possibility. “In The Fading” captures this spectrum of real-world playing and immaterial manipulation: the notes scatter to the far corners like ants, becoming increasingly more vaporous and processed as they approach the edges of the stereo field. Where exactly does Soo end and Miller begin?
During the slower, more tranquil pieces, I’m finally able to hear the nature of their back-and-forth. “Smoke” carries a beautifully plucked improvisation through a prism of filters and refractions, while voices arc across the horizon line. On “The Homesick Abandoned Icebreaker”, guitar harmonics are arranged like sculptures of geometric tessellation, juxtaposed via hard angles and mirrors of discordance. Sometimes it feels like a quest to identify mathematical patterns within the chaos of emotional impulse – an obsessive belief in the presence of objective truth, arranging Soo’s phrases into new sequences so as to unlock their hidden significance. Sometimes, it’s the exact opposite of that: tiny gestures obliterated into even tinier gestures, multiplying the potential for change again and again, paying homage to the ultimate rule of chance and limitless possibility. Apparently, these concepts can co-exist without a hitch.