Review: Lars Rynning + Suren Seneviratne – Magnetism

All profits from this release will be donated to Black Lives Matter.

It’s nothing new, but we’re more aware of this fact than ever: collaborating digitally offers the possibility of intimacy, even if it takes on a completely different form. What we lose in being unable to share a physical space and interact in real time, we gain in the opportunity to refract the performance, to slow it down, to accentuate certain aspects of its timbre, to challenge its processing pliability. It’s this form of intimacy that founds Magnestism. Alto clarinettist Lars Rynning provides the source audio here: warm low drones, seahorse flutters, skulking muttered phrases. Suren Seneviratne is the prismic lens through which these gestures are perceived, filtering the clarinet through varying fidelities and clumping separate notes into strange, smeared chords, occasionally resembling church organ resonance, elsewhere scattered as tropic mists of hum and outbreath.

On “Karmic Earth”, Rynning’s contributions sound like a sombre announcement on an empty stadium tannoy. On “Transmission”, his slow drones glimmer with the blotches of bitrate slippage – details leaking out the seams of the transatlantic cable. At any one moment, Seneviratne seems to be proposing five or six different incarnations of the instrument, like a grid of screens illuminated by various CCTV feeds, together producing a fragmented impression of an interior. We’re able to perceive the same event from numerous angles, all of them uniquely affected, arriving at a poetic approximation of a particular emotional hue – often despondent and weary, often shimmering and optimistic, often blurred by the feuding presence of all of the above. One departs from Magnestism feeling heavier from the absorption of something, the indeterminate nature of which leaves much to patiently unpick.