RELEASED ON THE LUMEN LAKE.
A wonderful collision between tumbling happenstance and luxuriant circuitry here, as Elaine Cheng takes the array of synthesisers from Electronic Music Studios at Goldsmiths, University of London through a bout of “electronic trial and error” before refining the output into a trio of five-minute pieces. Both energies announce themselves: the fiery imbalance of accident, the precision of compositional refinement. While the textures themselves have this wriggling obliviousness to them – overtones suddenly bulging out of one side, harmonic beats flitting between resting respiratory pulses and nervy double-time – the structural edges feel mindfully formed. Frequencies spill out of the lines, but never too far. Cheng finds a sweet spot between unpredictability and an overarching sense of direction, guiding the listener through a wilderness that leaves one with all the belly-dwelling unrest of being lost, tempered by the deep-set assurance that Cheng ultimately knows the way.
The muffled warmth of these recordings leads us to focus on their mid-frequency innards. Soft drones slink over eachother and melt together, their edges intermingled, gleaming like bubbles in syrup. “Blanket Of Haze” is precisely as labelled, perceived as if through ripples of heat, the tones slaloming upward through crinkling air, conveying a melody whose tunefulness has been obfuscated by heavy vibrato. Similarly, “Cavernous Deep” spelunks into the guts of an underground powerplant, swaddled in a chorus of volatile electronic humming. “Taller Than Your Shadow” finds the light again, blurred as if through eyes calibrating to the early morning, with tiny pulses dancing atop the tones with surreal, pinprick clarity. All of them possess an energy that originates outside of their composer: an “other” conjured through the aforementioned trial-and-error, wielding accident like a marginal language that invites this unknown to duet.