Daniel Klag
Permutations [CS; Chill Mega Chill]

The amazing thing about ambient and drone is that unless you are explicitly told by the artist, you never really never know where what you’re hearing is actually coming from. That is, of course, unless someone tells you, which (of course) is often the case if you’re a reviewer, and is (of course) the case here as we take a closer look at Daniel Klag’s newest tape for the Chill Mega Chill label. Here’s a young synther-droner from New York who told me that this work is composed of processed piano recordings, taking listeners deeper inside the instrument than many have likely dared to travel, down to the outer edges of the sound waves themselves, and maybe even passed that into some kind of ultra-deep negaverse of sound and harmony. The black hole you’re looking at (or hearing) as waves of crunchy audio roll by is abyssal, awe-inspiring, self-awareness-raising stuff. He described the process as melting away the source material to reveal its “soft interior,” although what I’m hearing is a bit more menacing and bleak than that might sound. He’s right about the peeling-back of the tone’s outer layer, though, the porcelain sheen of the piano removed revealing a grim truth of what lies beneath. So instead of overtones, what we’re hearing is actually undertones, or maybe inner-tones, the work a true permutation of one of music’s building blocks to unveil a sort of sub-music for the listener. There’s no ascension or transcendence here, it’s all about what’s within and below, which is an area of darkness to be sure, but also a new, perhaps unexplored territory that comes with its own set of wondrous, fascinating experiences.


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