Review: Kris Force – Cascade


Cascade speaks to the strange feeling of presence that clings to mountains when they are seen from afar. They hum, inaudibly, as they loom out of the landscape, still quivering with the same tectonic forces that pressed them into the sky. Authors such as Nan Shepherd have verged on bestowing sentience to the mountain, and we have only imprecise means to articulate the uncanny way in which mountains announce themselves to their perceiver, bristling against the limits of its so-called stillness as they bind themselves to whoever may be watching. Perhaps sounds like these are the best we have: insistent, gentle surges of custom software synthesis, with each track like a bespoke idling wind chime made from clusters of microphone feedback. Over six pieces that total at almost two hours, Kris Force allows these junctures of undulating drone to print themselves upon the air, finding a mode of movement that slips into the strange margin between stillness and activity while obscuring any sense of intervention from human hands.

Yet these pieces don’t simply hang within a single harmonic figure for 15 minutes. There are moments where the shape melts into something new, such as in the swerving dissonant changes within “Three Sisters – Mount Hope”. Again, these shifts avoid the sense that they have been steered by human forces, particularly as they settle nonchalantly back into a pendulous plateaux as if nothing happened. It feels akin to the wind changing direction, or the temperature suddenly dropping by three degrees – a transformation instigated through elemental committee, originating from nowhere in particular. These deviations don’t rupture the eerie subtlety that loiters throughout Cascade. Instead they intensify it, denying the comfort of a persistent sonic form and offering a reminder that the inaudible, alluring whirr of the mountain will forever lurk beyond understanding, manifest through the silhouette of negation and speculation.

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