All six tracks on Suspended Memory by Darren Harper are worth spending time with, but the first of them, “Crystal Ships,” is especially rewarding if lingered on. In many ways, the album’s title serves as an even better one for this specific track: glistening marimba-like sounds suggest a childhood toy, and Harper exaggerates the fragility with glitchy stutters and twitchy back’n'forth edits, the end result resembling a thought rising up from distant depths.
Rather than use that shifting fractured effluence as a backdrop, Harper charges it with the purpose and responsibility of the foreground. In time, various tiny elements come to circle each other: the marimba sound, vapor trails of activity, hushed rhythms, a rising current of percussive textures. It’s a wonderful thing: sharp as a shard as glass, yet gentle as a breeze.
More on Harper, who also goes by Mukti, at darrenjh.blogspot.com, where he explains the Suspended Memory album is dedicated to a friend and her son who passed away this past November, and at metameme.org. He lives in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado.