Review: Atte Elias Kantonen – Studies In Audio Fabrics

GRANNY RECORDS.

Studies In Audio Fabrics collates five sound pieces that press into the realm of the tactile, produced using the array of analogue synthesisers housed at Willem Twee Studios in the Netherlands. Listening to the album, it’s arguably easier to conceive of the sensory traversal occurring in the opposite direction, instead picturing a series of experiments involving dozens of rubber balls, viscous jelly substances, taut and moistened vegetal membranes, glasses of foam and thin pieces of wire, through which sound is a consequence of collisions between, and treatments of, the various materials scattered across the studio. Kantonen sculpts tones that feel thoroughly three-dimensional and then incorporates the warm, wet elasticity of the body into his synthesis; not only placing these sounds inside my head, but also by splatting them, damply, against my intimate inner surfaces.

Crucially, the movement here is physical instead of compositional. Rather than obeying structures of rhythm and harmony, these sounds adhere to the pulls of gravity and causality. Buzzing low tones slump to the floor with a wump, displacing pools of static as they land. Clusters of tones slide indulgently down walls like great globules of paint. That’s not to misconstrue Studies In Audio Fabrics as an unemotive, unmusical exercise. Quite the contrary. There is a vibrant, fundamental beauty gushing out of these five pieces, with each electronic vibration bristling in response to the environment it inhabits. These pieces are therefore harmonious in the truest, deepest sense: bound intricately by ribbons of influence and consequence, through which the smallest change in one instrument triggers a reconfiguration across the entire stereo field.