My favorite atmospheric music is often produced by people who have a pronounced and longerm dedication to environmental field recordings. These individuals bring to their synthesized sounds the immersive experience of real world recordings. The scale of their work is not song but world, not composition but soundscape. Such is the gloriously harrowing “Elastic Body,” the first preview track from Material Interstices, a forthcoming album from HEXA, the duo of Lawrence English and Xiu Xiu’s Jamie Stewart. It is a droning turmoil of white noise and shuddering dread, of voices straining against unseen forces to be heard and pipes echoing as they’re pulled long distances against rough surfaces.
It is neither a surprise that the sounds were inspired by dreams, nor that those dreams are deeply personal ones for the musicians, nor that the dreams have surfaced for them during the extended period of the pandemic. English describes it, in part, as follows: “The dream usually started with me playing on the lunar dirt and gradually a sound would emerge from a large concrete pit that was in the centre of the space. The sound would get louder and eventually I would have to go and inspect it. It called me in, there’s no other way to describe it.”
More on the album at lawrenceenglish.bandcamp.com. It is due out October 15, 2021.