The Psychoacoustics of Layers

Or: Jimmy Kipple reworks a Nettles track

Quick staccato notes suggest forward momentum. Backward masking suggests reflection. The rapid beats take us into the future. The molasses-slow warped sound takes us into the past. The former happens by quickening our pulse. The latter happens even as the music proceeds forward, even though we’re aware it moves forward. This psychoacoustic illusion is pushed to lovely ends in “A Gentle Southerly at Dusk [jimmy kipple’s Autumnal miasmix],” a reworking by Kipple of a Nettles original. The source material took guitar and turned it into something akin to a post-rock, minimalist gamelan. Kipple lovingly rends the Nettles piece until it has none of its rhythmic underpinning, until it is a constant flow of hints and gestures and flashbacks, of sliver moments stretched until their ends meet, stretched until they become transparent. We listen through that transparency, to layer, upon layer, upon layer. The track proceeds, but we’re stuck in an eternally held instance, winding and unwinding until past and present blur.

Here, for reference, is the original track, by Australia-based aScytheThroughNettles, from

Kipple track originally posted at

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