Review: Spectrical – Emergent Forms

Spectrical - Emergent FormsThe air is thick with electricity. By rendering audible the electronic signals of household objects – phones, fridges, computers, lights – Tim Allen generates a symphony that is happening all the time. In my living room, right now. Objects humming and sighing at eachother; continuous drones co-mingling over my head, slotting into beautiful harmonies undetected. It’s a disturbing and wonderful thought, and while I love the idea of each household generating its own distinctive harmonic fingerprint, I become aware of the very thick and serrated signals casually sidling through my internal organs, intersecting my own bodily electronic pulses.

These tangents of thought aside, the piece itself is beautifully assembled. I feel like Allen is drifting through his home, lingering upon single objects or dialogues between devices – frequencies crossfade as he shuffles out of one room and into another, rendering the whole hour as a seamless digital bath, tilting between different timbres and densities. The section at 24 minutes sounds like the moments before a shuttle launch: monitoring pulses beating out of primitive speakers, last-minute advice from mission control gurgling inaudibly, stifling imaginary hums of my own psychological unease. Elsewhere, miracles happen by accident – two separate signals fit immaculately into a major-key interval, like a divine voice embedded in silence, and Allen suspends the moment like a climactic romance; a meditation on worldly interconnections that usually transcend our senses, and allusions to a sonic universe unfolding without us.