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Nunc Stans "The Palm at the End of the Mind"
A new release by Nunc Stans, stunning and beautiful.
Anthony Paul Kerby has released a number of fabulous albums in a variety of guises and identities, each one capturing a particular sound and style that engages and intrigues. "The Palm at the End of the Mind" by Nunc Stans is a particularly fine example of Kerby's work, a seven track disc where the songs are influenced by the isolation of Northern environments, music to conjure images of unique landscapes that are equal parts beautiful and mysterious. Kerby has a reputation for being particularly skilled in his ability to paint aural landscapes and with "The Palm at the End of the Mind" he proves once again that his reputation is well deserved.
"The Palm at the End of the Mind" opens the disc, an epic 30 minute track with a spiraling drone underneath a thin synth line. As the track continues tones well up in the soundfield creating a wider space, a more distinct location. A second movement featuring a fuzzy wave of distortion is paired with a soaring synth line that loops around the track. A third movement adds electronic percussion playing over a looping segment of noise from the last segment, gradually growing in volume to ultimately become a gristly drone segment. I'm afraid my descriptions don't do it justice, but trust me when I say that it's an impressive and appealing piece of music.
"Casual Solitudes" opens in a dark windy place, the sound of whistling caverns and ice floes. It's a dark and rather solemn environment, a quiet piece where there is little hope and possibility. As the track progresses there is a shift in style and sound and soon things become a little brighter, a little more hopeful as if to suggest there is a light at the end of the tunnel and possibilities beyond that which have been previously imagined. Yet despite this new found possibility, there is still an element of mournfulness to the track that creates a nice contrast in ideas.
Track three, "Ice Caverns", starts in a different headspace with a feeling of warmth about it, of falling drops of cold dark rain in a rainforest. The occasional sound is heard echoing in the soundfield, something farther along in the space created in the track, but it's all very minimal, very simple. A nice aural head cleaner, something to bring us around to a new mindset while listening.
"Spring Thaw" is a short piece, just a little shy of two minutes, but Kerby does an excellent job of creating a space and environment. A shifting drone slides through the track, bending and processing in a variety of different ways as the track continues. An interesting transitional piece moving us from one location to the next.
"The Imperfect is Our Paradise" is another shorter piece that has an almost sacred feel to it. Deep low tones create a dark and haunting backdrop. It's a mournful and dark piece, something that suggests an end to all things, a final place to rest.
"Gaspe Passage" returns us to more comfortable locales with a stronger sense of hope and possibility. String-like tones shape a melody, weaving and intertwining around eachother to create a dense bed track around which everything else builds and forms. There's a feeling of possibility here, the feeling that things have changed for the better. An optimistic and beautiful track.
The last track on the disc, "The Sleepers in Their Sleep Shall Move", begins as a minimal drone-based piece where sounds ring and drift through a wash of drones. There's a feeling of suspense here, a feeling of drama that really appeals and remains unresolved until the halfway mark where an organ/piano combination bring a certain resolution and closure to both the work and the disc as a whole. A nice way to end things...
As with all of Kerby's releases as Nunc Stans, "The Palm at the End of the Mind" does a wonderful job of capturing the feeling of new spaces, places conjured through the expressiveness of the music. Kerby has once again shown that he has an unparalleled ability to create sonic environments, and it should come as no surprise that I highly recommend this disc.
rik - ping things
last updated 05/22/11