Review: Tomas Phillips – Limit_Fold

Tomas Phillips - Limit_FoldLimit_Fold is loaded with promise. Each sound is a probe pointing outward, patiently beckoning the arrival of the new. I’m made to listen intently for the signs of materialisation; the nascent indications of an emergent sound as it climbs out of the crumple of walkie-talkie dead air or sprouts from the soft hum of low frequencies. More often than not, Phillips simply compounds the expectant unease instead of relieving it. Acts of tension bloom into yet further acts of tension, with hollow and peripheral noises (drafts slinking through open windows, voices reduced to the inaudible breaths of ghosts, the rustle of handled objects) writhing and churning across the walls of stereo space. At some points, Limit_Fold reduces toward absolute silence, leaving me clinging to the dim emission of a single sine wave or hollow gush of air, nurturing imminent death like a candle about to go out.

Given that the vast proportion of Limit_Fold works with pale shades and slow fades, the moments of sudden musicality seem miraculous. Doors swing open to reveal dissonant orchestras or meditative droplets of koto, ripping through the air of cross-fading allusion and strange obfuscation. Having re-calibrated my listening to the music’s otherwise gentle pacing, the sparing use of staccato and sudden event appears surreally bright and crisp; I realise that Phillips has drawn me deep into his language of monochrome implication and micro-detail, and that in my constant state of baited expectation, I’ve actually entered a heightened engagement with the present tense.

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