It seems astonishing to me that L-NE has reached its 37th release in such a short span of time. In relation to many other labels of their kind, L-NE has achieved world wide recognition and respect amongst the minimalism/microsound community, and now, this their 2nd DVD release marks a new level of ambition. A notoriously difficult medium to project and sell in the current marketplace, DVD would seem an obvious route for the remit of the label – that of focussing on installation based audio or audio visual work In a minimalist framework.
Mark Fell’s Attack on Silence (a performance? An installation?) harnesses the power of the visual medium in its purest form, by integrating delicate sonic structures with highly simplistic and stylised visualisations. Given the ever increasing level of sophistication in today’s stock PC visualisation skins with which to compete, Fell’s work warrants extra respect, as he slices the screen in half with narrow bands of undulating primary colours, and bombards us with swells and pits of pin-prick sonic tonalities. The last time I was this blown away with such a subtle, yet truly revelatory audio-visual feast was on Ryoji Ikeda’s Formula series. Fell deploys the same pillarbox format that Ikeda does, confining the raw elements to a limited frame, set on a piercing black backdrop, which on a home cinema sized screen, gives the effect of being suspended in space. This to me, is some kind of Post modern, post millennial psychedelia, a head trip which takes in all of the sensory apparatus, albeit with a level of subtlety and grace that far transcends the swirly, organic forms epitomised by the medium in the psychedelic generation’s heyday. The sleeve notes in this gorgeously packaged DVD more than hint at sacred geometries, mandala’s and consciousness altering patterning, a much cited reference point perhaps, but with a unique, rigorously geometric spin that Fell is more than capable of manifesting in sound and light
One short, and two other long form pieces see us moving from shimmering bands of colour, going through a panoply of transitions and gradations, in synch with a deliciously tonal soundtrack..here and there the occasional tract of near suspended animation, where the screen appears frozen, and then suddenly becomes active and immersive. Fell questions his own modus operandi, begging us the question of whether or not these apparitions are truly spiritual, transcendental, or merely physiological responses to a stimulus – he questions whether or not we are enlightened, examined, entertained, or enmeshed? For me, this work encompasses all of the above, a highly detailed and powerful transitional digital painting, that forces us to encounter the indescribable, the ineffable, and indeed the mundane..nirvana achieved in under an hour. This release will excite and challenge in one easy lesson..a minor masterpiece, and one that I will revisit again and again. – remarkable. BGN