Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Dissolving Constructed Symbols Online

This one has been a long time coming too – again, written into the hitherto unfinished fourth instalment of Everybody’s Droning On The Weekend, but seeing as Ill be seeing Christopher Royal King in his “day band” mode tonight as This Will Destroy You play London’s Scala, it’s high time this gets its airtime. Excellently intriguing label Holodeck Records put out Online Architecture earlier this year. The unpacking process has meant I have stumbled over “lost” albums – this is one of them. King’s electronic project Symbol focuses primarily on tape erasure and looped manipulations, a transmogrification from epochal sound systems to a more amorphous entity, evoking the stillness of euphoria and the devastation of a world irrevocably changed – a post-apocalyptic ecstasy where the human limit for emotional capacity is reached and overrun, and all that is left is to sit in the tranquillity of the End and marvel at its wondrous completeness. For Online Architecture is all about finding traction in decay – something that seminal Basinski tract The Disintegration Loops manifested – as King creates pieces using instruments (such as guitar, dulcimer and harmonium) that he systematically frays by processing through a myriad of modular patch-bays and therefore patchworking new, chimeric soundscapes. Some of the tape reels that these songs were recorded to were specifically chosen due to their disintegration levels, thus giving a warm, fragile and tenebrous filter (a couple disintegrated entirely during the final transfer). It’s a stunning contemplation of Man on the precipice of its own devising (much of Online Architecture comes from King’s travails through China and his growing horror and sense of dissipating Self as he witnessed first-hand the country’s yet-to-be-inhabited ghost cities and the overflowing mega-metropolises). Seriously – I cannot think of ‘Lineage’, the album’s closer, without Malick-esque pastiche images of crystalline humanism swell around me, often of men falling from buildings whilst the sun shone through the smallest gaps that the buildings allowed, as if the building could hold no more. It’s a haunting and evocative piece that swells to the point of spiritual implosion, yet also holds a great degree of dexterity and light within its machinations. It’s a fantastic suite of ambient permutations and I'm glad I finally fell into its embrace.

You can purchase Online Architecture here – and if you are a fan of this sort of thing, this is essential.

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