The clock runs at half-speed. The second hand slumps into a new position. Strings, saxophone and modular synth are suspended in drones, marking each prolonged increment by communally hauling themselves from one pitch to the next. Gently they defy the onward flow of time, as moments seem to hang in the air for too long, quivering as they press back against the insistence to continue. The solemnity that wafts out of A Vibrant Touch undoubtedly stems from this: how each chord reluctantly gives way to the next, holding their current posture until they can’t any longer.
Słyż’s interest is the identification of “subtle connections” between acoustic instruments and modular synthesis. Yet it’s the disparities that initially announce themselves: the exhaled breaths that mark out the woodwind, the slow gathering of serration on the edge of an electronic wave, the rasp of the bow swept like a lesion across the breadth of the drone. And then there are the throbs of microtonal interval as the instruments converge upon a common pitch yet don’t quite align, pushing into eachother as if trying to amalgamate through brute pressure. Słyż dwells on these moments until the innards are shaking, overtones like unoiled hinges lamenting under strain, wallowing in the tension of almost. The album exerts under the shadow inevitable failure. Time is slowed but not stopped. Separate entities are aligned but not unified. Nonetheless, the music persists.