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