Ester Kärkkäinen works with the outer crust of music. The part that artists normally throw away; the in-between breaths, the whirrs of unwanted interference, the buzz of bad wiring, the amplified groan of labouring tape machines. Conditions Of Acrimony is orchestrated from failure, collecting those moments when voices fail to enunciate, when sudden rushes of winter wind obscure a Dictaphone recording of a particular subject, when microphone membranes deteriorate and loudly cave in on themselves. She emerges in negative exposure, her shape outlined by the various shortcomings in execution. Somewhere between the whimpers of fearful instinct and crackle of bad capture, Ester Kärkkäinen doesn’t reside.
Given that I’m forced to eat the dead husk of sound rather than the fruit itself, it’s no surprise that Conditions Of Acrimony quickly becomes isolating. “Completely” splutters like an industrial printer jamming up, with paper and ink bunching into the mechanism and motors constantly dying and reviving themselves. Fragments of incoherent voice flash upon the surface, obscured so that I recognise it as human but cannot empathise with it. On “This Conflict”, a walkie-talkie issues an urgent command that I can’t hear. It sounds like the transmit button keeps cutting out. Should I be worried? Probably. Over the subsequent minutes I’m smothered by vacant drones, shards of scream and coughs of static, all of which blots out my connection to the outside world. I’m left to gradually lose faith in myself, shut away inside a small cubicle of dull metal and concrete.