Is Varieties Of Anomalous Experience trying to communicate with me? There’s something about the way in which the electronics arrive in splutters and clumps – broken up and malformed from their journey down the wires – which brings me to anticipate the delivery of a message of sorts: the coarse, Velcro static that sounds like a walkie-talkie clearing its throat, the beeps that form tiny holes in the high frequencies that could be tampered morse code, the little clicks that sound like marbles singing and jangling in a metal box. Something has been chewed up in transit, and the music purrs and crunches in a soft, patient prelude to its reassembly. Right at the end I’m almost certain I can hear a human voice – warped and deeply distorted, but human nonetheless – but the album cuts out shortly after.
These executional dents and scuffs make me think prominently of Watson’s homemade electronics, and those wondrous “imperfections” that must inevitably arise from self-soldering and circuitry by hand. His music is murk of analogue moderation; a tentative “not quite” that moves cautiously, probing, in multiple directions at once. Where musical digitisation brings with it a binary assertion and clarity of intent, Watson rolls ambiguity around between his hands, using choked half-words and nuances of failure to keep Varieties Of Anomalous Experience beyond the membrane of total understanding, like whale song for the analogue ether.