Somnambule - Writing About Music

Small Melodies

Spekk is a one man label  whose intent is to traverse the borders of form and formlessness, sound and silence. Fellow travellers in these sonic territories include the likes of Touch and 12k. The delicacy of the music released on Spekk is paralled by the beautiful design of the book-format card folders in which its CDs are presented. Small Melodies is the label’s first compilation which, alongside more familiar names such as the likes of Oren Ambarchi, Stephan Mathieu and Taylor Deupree, presents nine less well-known artists. The title appears to be lifted from Mathieu’s concluding piece and suggests an interesting opening out of the concept of melody into a wider, less easily-defined realm. Ultra Milkmaids ease the listener in gently with crinkly silver leafed spirals that twist and turn in fragile, brittle movement. So tactile-sounding is this piece that it seems possible you might reach out and touch it. Gorgeous. Sofar’s For A Pulse Or Two mixes grit into its wooshes and microcosmic digital signals into its flow. Listen too intently and flurries of sound like warm snow may mist the eyes, reducing vision to a minimum. Best not to listen whilst driving or handling machinery. The title of Tomoyoshi Date’s contribution is endearingly apt: Sunnyside Suns And Sounds tinkles and flutters like a mechanised stream made from tinplate, bamboo and autumn leaves. There’s a thrumming industriousness to the wishwash patterning that recalls sunlight on lapping water. Shapes emerge and disappear with wistful abandon. The result is an essay in loveliness which conveys a carefree embrace of sonic beauty reminiscent of Brian Eno’s work. Taylor Deupree’s For Nicholas goes subterranean. Movements flicker in dim cavelight, sounds of stone upon stone reverberate from distant corners. The term ‘Ambient’ is far too crude and diffuse a description to apply to these twelve pieces. Best to set aside labels and listen openly. Do so and these little continents, worlds, forms are a delight to explore.

Colin Buttimer
January 2006
Published by Signal To Noise magazine