Title: Delusions of Graindeur
Release Date: 20 March 2014
License: CC BY-NC 4.0
Label: Ektoplazm / Gliese 581C
First thing to explain: Graindeur is not a miss-spelling. It is a play on words. This recording was initially conceived as part of a masters thesis on granular synthesis, with an emphasis on composition. And, as such, the fingerprint of graindeur is all over this EP-length set of interwoven tracks.
So, what is granular synthesis? Basically, the idea is to take sounds and divide them into tiny pieces (grains) in the 1-50 millisecond range. These sounds are then processed and manipulated to create sounds that are familiar, or unfamiliar. This concept dates all the way back to the late 1950’s when Ianis Xenakis first experimented with it. With the advent of digital sound processing the concept and methods have flourished.
Since this was produced as a piece for his masters thesis, Fingerprint envisioned these tracks as being presented as a single continuous work. This has been honored by both Ektoplazm and Gliese 581C by releasing the FLAC version as a single file, with a CUE sheet for burning to CD or cutting into individual tracks. Personally, I preferred to listen to the work as a single piece, only looking at the CUE sheet to get the names of each piece.
This is, plain and simply, a set of gorgeous tracks. To the average listener (which your humble reviewer feels he is one of) these tracks sound incredibly detailed, and structured. I almost don’t know how to explain this experience, it’s like I am listening to incredibly masterful works and can hear all the details that went into them. Yet, I just feel like experiencing them, living in the moment, and floating along for the journey they are taking me on. They are almost a meditation for me.
But, as I do pay attention to the works, I can hear a mind-boggling range of influences in these works. Let me try to list some of the influences I hear in this work, even if I miss quite a few of them: Klaus Schulze, Tangerine Dream, Alan Parsons, Aphex Twin, Steve Roach, Propellerheads, Amon Tobin. And then there are all the genres / styles involved: Berlin School, ambient, drone, space music, prog synth, IDM, techno, dub, and trance.
And, the fact is, there is plain and simply a ton more in this work that I know I’ve missed. And, maybe some I’ve miss-identified. (Let me give an example of how bad this is: in ‘Delusions of Graindeur’ there is a note in the bass line, I know it, I know the texture, I’ve heard many times — and yet just now I can’t tell you where it came from… It’s literally driving me crazy as I listen to this piece again.)
The thing about this work is: every time I think I have a grip on what Fingerprint is doing, and how a track is going to proceed he throws in something new, some small twist, and I am taken aback trying to figure out where it came from. Of course, all of this is driving me crazy in a good way. It’s one of those mental agility tests we all need from time to time.
And then I step back and think: oh wait, this whole thing was made from using tiny 1-50msec grains of sounds. And if that isn’t a mind-blower, I don’t know what is.
It’s obvious that Fingerprint isn’t just good, or excellent: he is a master. In fact, I would dare say he has excelled past being a master and ascended to another plane. I can’t wait to see where he (she?) goes with this work in the future. I’m definitely excited by it.