Review: T. Gowdy – Therapy With Colour

CONSTELLATION.

The album title plainly describes T. Gowdy’s main interest here, although the music within takes an understated approach to the attainment of therapeutic states. Too often, records that explicitly seek to be meditative leave me feeling like a surgical subject, with all musicality forcefully bent toward the primary objective of tampering with brainwaves. Such efforts can feel predatory in their attempts to rewire my head, leaving me wary about granting these faceless energies access to my innermost signals of self. Despite clearly wielding techniques that take inspiration from T. Gowdy’s experiments with the Nova Pro 100 Light and Sound Mind Machine (such as a persistent stereo flicker that sends my attention pinging back and forth), this is a beautiful record first and foremost, relishing the curves and tactile joys of its materials as a priority.

Even during blatantly hypnotic passages such as the left-to-right humming on “Depse”, the sounds are a delight to hold in the head; beachball-buoyant and vividly three dimensional, suspended within the echoes of modest and unassuming spaces, ornamented in synthesiser harmonies that cover the record’s surface like lichens. Textures mutate over persistent repeats, but not through a linear transformation from one shape into another – instead, they tilt toward new states and then gently rock back, like flowers briefly heeding the breeze before returning to their photosynthetic trajectory. The title track is a particularly lovely example of this, featuring a chattering synthesiser that feels like a tiny finger tapping against the top of the skull, the tone thinning and expanding as if modulating the point of impact between the sharp edge of the fingernail and the nub of the finger itself. Just as with the best dance music – and certainly, the album has moments that skim the brink of minimal techno – movement is enacted without strain or artifice. Elegance is the key, and Therapy With Colour manages to guide me toward richer states of consciousness without seeming to try.