C sounds at first as though nothing’s happening. But when this Chinese sound artist’s 3-inch CD is paused, then un-paused, a distinct difference in sonic air pressure is definitely discernable. Brown, unbroken heft displaces utter silence, rising oh-so-slowly in volume until you’d swear it was always lurking there in your field of hearing. Then a dermal layer of prickled static asserts itself, fading to a fizz before you’ve become accustomed to it.
The 21-minute, 30-second sole, track—“C for Schubert” —becomes much more interesting from that point forward, emerging from a barely-there micro-tonal stasis into something intense and composed, incorporating mournful string-section sawing and startling hints of ivory that are content to be passengers, not pilots. If Alok evokes anything here, it’s deepest winter: frozen countrysides blanketed with freshly fallen snow, so still that they seem lifeless, until one notices the icicles dripping, stray dogs foraging, and lonely, unshed leaves twitching.
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