Review: Mike Majkowski – Days And Other Days

a3724955662_16Electronic or acoustic. It’s always so hard to tell. Likely, it’s both: synth drones pulsing through thin sheets of wood, string friction augmented by digital processing, airflow perpetuated by machinery. Chimes are smeared into eerie dollops of bronze, resonating for far too long. Voices babble and drip – half baboon cries, half leaking tap – while harmonies ooze into eachother like thick paints crawling across a sloped palette, pushing bright reds into the edges of royal blues, turning rich and unequivocal signals into murks of conflict, overtone and uncertainty. On Days And Other Days, Mike Majkowski strikes a particularly disconcerting balance between recognition and the unknown. These compositions aren’t quite right. Imagine reaching out to touch surfaces of metal and wood and thread, those tactile materials that cradle the world we know, and finding that your hand plunges straight into them, fingers sinking into cold and colloid structures, still detecting a semblance of familiarity (wood splinters, smooth metallic sheen) amidst a sensation that’s otherwise alien and somewhat…nauseating?

Structurally, these four tracks are clumped into the vague shapes of musical composition. There are “chord changes” (the gurgling feedback tilting back and forth on “Matter”) and moments of rhythmic synchronicity (the bass frequencies that push throbbing harmonics to the edges of the frame on “Chapter”, like breaths held and plosively released). The connections that run between these sounds are loose enough to draw their interdependence into question (am I forcing an illusion of coherence upon a gathering of sounds that just so happen to share the same pocket of audial space-time?), yet still strangely, inexplicably symbiotic. The shaker and drum that staggers into the latter half of “Matter” makes me smile. It’s the one sound that I can compute without a hitch. Metronomic, unprocessed, trying helplessly to impose simplistic rhythmic rationale upon a record that slides between states of indecision. A beautiful blur.