Breaking free from the current inertia of the microsound scene, Josh Russell has slowly been evolving and honing his sound and general approach, that for me, culminates in this energetic release on Quiet Design.
His recent “Music For Geiger Counters” on Koyuki Sound was a great entry point for anyone who hasn’t heard of him, and this beautifully packaged full length release can only re affirm his status as one of a clutch of new practitioners of the ultra minimal, who are setting the bench mark very high indeed, in terms of composition and technical ability.
Sink is an exploratory dissection of the purely digital, homing in on micro-particulates, that once again draws upon the influence of people like Pita, and Kim Cascone to name but two, who were pushing the boundaries of digital experimentalism ten years ago. Russell doesn’t necessarily offer any new solutions, but his concentration on pure sound show a rigour and determination not to take on any of the cliches perpetrated by the ever growing army of wannabe glitch artists.
Russell pares back his sounds, exposing them for all their beauty, and not confounding the listener with overblown layerings and treatments, but makes logical transitions through each segment of each piece, embracing several moods that encompass harsh and oblique processing that slide gracefully into billowing near-ambience. There are no harmonics on display here, and Russell makes great use of the tactile, visceral skree yielded by high quality digital output, each pop and crackle, clearly defined with rapier sharp precision. Sink, whilst not entirely unique, certainly hints at a promising future for both Russell, and Quiet Design, a symbiotic pairing that will no doubt offer us up more gems..Sink is one of them..go buy. BGN