Following on from last year’s acclaimed Sylva Sylvarum, the epic double LP from Ora Clementi (her collaborative project with James Rushford), crys cole returns to Black Truffle with Other Meetings. Originally commissioned and released on cassette by Boomkat Editions in 2021, Other Meetings is a major addition to the body of carefully hewn solo work cole has released over the last decade, offering up two side-long suites of her radically intimate approach to sound. After many years dominated by touring and travel, cole found herself in lockdown in her Berlin apartment, working in a limited space with minimal equipment. Digging through archives of recordings taken overseas and exploring the sonic potential hidden in the objects surrounding her (including a coffee pot and a vase of dying flowers), she crafted what in her liner notes she calls ‘an internal dérive, a journey that drifted through many places without a defining compass’. Totalling over 50 minutes, the two pieces unfold at an unhurried pace, each containing four individually titled subsections. Beginning with a sequence of the highly amplified small sounds characteristic of much of cole’s work, the opening moments of ‘The time between two durations of sleep’ are underpinned by a gentle rocking motion, weaving together contact mic crunch, metallic resonance, glimpses of bird song, and isolated drum machine hits, the sonic space expanding and contracting as focus moves between elements. Briefly side-lined by a tactile but unplaceable sizzling, this complex weave of voices then returns in a kind of dubbed-out ‘version’, the percussive accents echoing around the stereo space. In one of the record’s most beautiful and unexpected moments, these sounds are joined by a sparse melodic line performed on a broken 1980s digital synth, the vaguely New Age timbres being taken on a long, tonally ambiguous wander. Cole’s immersion in memories of travel comes to the fore in the final section of the first side, titled ‘Wat Paknam’ after a royal temple in Bangkok, where snatches of voices, ringing bells and distant waves of chanting blur together with synth tones into an increasingly abstracted wave of sound. The second side, ‘Slices of cake’, opens in a similarly hallucinatory outdoor space of echoing bird song and liquified traffic before abruptly zooming in on a microscopic world of subtly processed and highly amplified objects, explored with a starkness and quiet insistence that calls to mind the fringe not-quite-concrète of outsiders like Paul A.R. Timmermans or Knud Viktor, whose obsessive interrogation of dripping water might also serve as a point of reference for the following sub-section, the aptly titled ‘magischer Abfluss’ (magic drain).
While Other Meetings develops many aspects of cole’s previous work – the hyper-magnification of small gestures, the unsettling edits and fades partly inspired by hypnagogic states, the location recordings smeared into oneiric haze – it is almost as if these pieces are somehow songs, the remnants of an evaporated music of which nothing remains except isolated hits from a synthetic drum, a handful of notes, or simply a duration of emptied atmosphere. Radically reductive yet deeply musical, Other Meetings is a major work from an artist driven by an uncompromising and idiosyncratic vision.
Presented with an inner sleeve with photos and liner notes from the composer and remastered audio.