I have spent a significant part of the last year listening to music through a pair of noise cancelling headphones with my eyes closed. There has been something about the prevailing progress of this pandemic, coupled with the pressure of living in a busy locked-down household, that has necessitated the sort of virtual getaway that such a period of self-isolation provide.
I was intrigued, therefore, when I received the latest release from the Slovakian composer David Kollar, which he recommended listening to in such an environment. I first came across Kollar last year, through his excellent collaborative release with the Norwegian jazz trumpeter Arve Henriksen: entitled ‘Unexpected Isolation’. I have since enjoyed exploring his Bandcamp page and was further provoked to explore this new composition by the method in which it was recorded.
As I understand it, ‘Sonic Pulses’ was recorded over a period of four days, with Kollar composing four different layers of the music in real time over that time period. This has resulted in a intense and meditative suite of music which allows you really sink into the sonics of the four tracks here.
At the base of this is a drone that attuneds you to something quite fundamental… a sound that seems to somehow give your psyche permission to relax and think past the worries and concerns that surround you. From there you can build up your listening and comprehension… by this I mean you can enjoy and interpret what you hear in and beyond that. You can immerse yourself in Kollar’s layers of sound and accept the challenge to really engage with this music. As I have written many times on this blog, listening to music that seems ambient does not mean that you don’t engage with it… and here is a case in point. Indeed by listening to it with your other senses covered gives you a rich and synesthetical experience as you picture the visions that it conjures up in your mind.
This, then, is music which has been composed in our strange times to be appreciated in such. It further explores the idea of isolation that Kollar has done in his previous lockdown work, but I found that it actually helped to increase my psychological boundaries and explore new areas with and in my mind as the sounds of Kollar’s compositions passed through it.
’Somic Pulses’ is available to pre-order now as download here.
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