Cory Allen – Fourth Way – CD – Quiet Design

With only a handful of releases under its belt, Quiet Design is quietly staking a claim on the world of digital composition by introducing new and up and coming artists whose work is slowly making an impact on the scene. Here, label master, Cory Allen sees fit to release his own work on his own label, with a startling release entitled Fourth Way.

Allen sets out his stall right from the outset, with a series of static bursts, Exedra swamps the senses, then blisters and bursts into rangy tonalism that flickers around the central theme. A similar approach continues on Telepathic Solve, where an almost church-like quadra-tonal organ refrain pushes through the static, granular surfaces, lending the whole piece a surreal, slightly disconnected atmosphere, drifting like smoke from a raging furnace. This series of pieces instantly remind me of the techniques deployed by Alva Noto on his recent Xerrox release, where a harsh textural backdrop becomes the mainstay of each piece, with exquisitely rendered tonalism layered over the top, to create sonic edifices that are challenging, but still highly listenable. Allen experiments with pure granular digital surfaces in the two Chordata Analysis pieces, perhaps time stretching and reforming them into short form pieces that are sketch-like examinations that may evolve and merge elsewhere. As the CD continues, each piece gradually departs from the glitchier elements, and becomes pure experimental tonalism, occasionally perforated with organic or digital sequences to maintain interest.

High point of the collection for me is All Suns – here, Allen utilises old style ambience, with expansive chord sequences, deliciously warm and glowing swells of pure sound, layered between a fabric of gristly digitalism, that barely impinges on the ear, yet becomes an essential component within the whole, a perfect reference point for the whole collection. Not having heard Allen’s solo work on various other small labels, this collection is a worthy entry point to his work. Add to this some nicely executed packaging, and production by Taylor Deupree, and this is a recipe for a very fine release that would be a worthy investment. BGN


About whiteline1

WHITE_LINE was set up three years ago, in order to play and promote the work of artists and musicians working under the banner of "minimalism", in all its many guises. This has led to a regular and highly successful mix slot on the Garden of Earthly Delights radio show in the UK, and guest appearances on Resonance FM (frequenzen show). We now aim to extend the remit of the mix slots by reviewing (as often as possible) material that encapsulates and crystallises the minimalist ethic, and hopefully we'll be leading artists and audiences alike towards a deeper appreciation of this and other marginalised genres. I welcome your comments, and criticisms, and would love to hear from labels and artists who would like their work showcased on the show, or reviewed here. We regret that due to time constraints, we cannot review everything that is sent to us, but will endeavour to give exceptional work an "honourable mention" at the very least, and links to quality sites that we think worthy of mentioning. I am trying to support labels and artists as much as possible by promoting their work, not least because I am a stereotypical "struggling artist" myself, but also because there are so few younger artists entering this particular scene, and there is a danger of it becoming the sole domain of a handful of forty somethings who really ought to be doing something better with their time! Having worked for most of the more reputable underground magazines in the early 90's, I was never afforded the luxury of taking time and care over reviews, as deadlines and column space were always hanging like the sword of Damocles over me. With WHITE_LINE, I have the luxury of being able to review when I have time, and I am receptive to a particular mood, and hopefully this will reflect in the quality and length of some of the reviews. If you like what you see, please link to me to encourage more traffic through the site, and cross promote whatever is happening out there. Address for promotional material: 45 Drovers Walk Spring Park, Kingsthorpe Northampton NN2 8BB UK

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