Bookworms floating on air/hanging by a thread

[Self-Released; 2019]

Rating: 4/5

Styles: synthesis, echoes, mud
Others: exael, Ultrafog, …

Searching through pockets too big for your hands
Pulling up dust
To wear thin with them (the pockets…the dust…)
What holds you is not natural, but material

Bookworms makes sometimes hefty, sometimes breezy, and always acute modular music, having previously released on celebrated labels like L.I.E.S., BANK Records, anòmia, and Bánh Mì Verlag. This latest self-released soliloquy shares most with the more muffled parts of 2017’s essayistic Appropriation Loops (Break World Records), ushering us through an oblique and potentially endless maze of spongy walls and decayed corners. The end seems to have occurred long ago. What is at this end? An ending wrapped up with the rest? An interposable portal.

The fermenting 35-minute-long work effervesces with haunting, vestigial reverberations aged in salt or vinegar: creaks, squeaks, what could be a car braking or breathing, alarms sounding, squeals transposed to puffy and sonorous booms. Funky and smudged, these scraps shuttle all around as echoes cooing from the depths of long, cold cellars. Experiencing them together turns one a little bit around, like a heaving crowd or tossing wave. I might get carried in one direction and land with my shirt turned the other way. I might wake up in the morning with the blankets twisted, elaborately, far from where they first lay. Surrendering to unknowing can be maddening, but Bookworms immerses his sounds in a subliminal sublime. Transfigured. An ecstatic process, in movements.

At around 11 minutes in, a skittering pulse that has been quietly pattering through the semi-industrial mush gains volume and asserts itself with a consuming presence. The muddy, meandering hush that has carried the piece thus far solidifies into something like a trail to be followed. A rhythmic thread, spread like wet stone, pulled like an enticing string. Patterns to feel to. What have so far been more erratic creaks and squeaks also gather strength and whoop and hoot with an emergent presence. At around 26 minutes, this burst begins to fade away, and shortly after, the pieces collect themselves into the shade of a stunningly beautiful ambient pad that eventually guides them to clank out a stark and spontaneous finish. The finish is not the end. A flourish. It has passed, and where is left?

Back at the beginning, I pass by everyone doing everything. Everything doing everyone: kites struggling to catch wind; plastic bags tangled in trees, ripped and fixed and fleeting; long, flowing coats blown up by a breeze, and billowing; a wish to remove what was just spoken; a ripple; reflecting; missing it, and you, and wanting to and not wanting to; curling up at the door of your face and staying there indefinitely; trying to decode each groan from the floor, the door, your bed, the street; the way you look at me, doe-y, sadly, head turned down, chin pointing to the little dip in your chest, hair falling into the light somehow every time I leave you for good this time for the next long while.

For several days, air
For several days, sky
This one, wet
The one with a wandering mouth

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