Plunderphonic’s instigator offers two glacially moving compositions, ostensibly two sides of the same coin. Each work begins with a thunderbolt multi-octave A that triggers long cross-fades and slow morphs. Both are parallel paths through the same landscape. Each piece is tuned to match American and European electricity’s pervasive hum, though this doesn’t completely account for their differing durations. (This inequality points to a prospective fascination with the pair: It’s hard to determine whether one is merely the sped-up version of the other.)
A Yamaha Disklavier piano contributes the source material’s bulk, but there’s also weather, a surreptitiously captured piano tuner at work, Joan Jeanrenaud’s cello, and birds. These aparanthesi progress gradually and deviously. You may frequently pause the disc to isolate that low rumbling (an idling truck or Oswald?) or that lightly spluttering sound (a running tap or Oswald?). Rarely does ea blot and mask the listener’s environment so well. The slow-moving layers create indeterminate hybrids rich in harmonics, and Oswald intuitively blends electronics with real-world sound. Audiophiles need to know that Oswald’s kit contains potentially nasty effects: cone flapping and extreme dynamic fluctuations. empreintes DIGITALes’ always elegant presentation (nested layers which must be unfolded to reach the disc) includes a lengthy composer interview.