AMN Reviews: A Guide for Reason – Iconography (Faith Strange)

A sprawling project slimmed down by an elegant solution. “Iconography” is the latest recording in an “ongoing abstract, exploratory and left-field” endeavour named A Guide for Reason, launched by American artist Mike Fazio in 2009 but rarely shared outside a small circle. This edition contains four lengthy tracks of amorphous, tentatively-searching electronica which, as the Faith Strange motto has it, “has no purpose other than it is”, which one supposes is existentially reasonable enough. Broadly ranging and never in a hurry, more perplexing than the almost altruistic and thoroughly engrossing “Élégie” of last year, “Iconography” will eventually find pressure points in the imagination of the right listener. For this one, it was the lambent ambience of the final track, “Godman”.

Accompanying the package is an insert upon which is printed the digital download code for the album “Interiors”, taken from a limited edition, four-disc set called “Music from the Strange Box”. It begins with the rude snatching of the tone arm off an amiable bit of antique jazz fluff, but in stark contrast to the tattered collages of “Iconography”, these tracks are guitar-based and focused, rough and smooth drones, late-night introspective vamp, swarming electric haze. There is a thread of pop culture nostalgia running through the samples, including quotes from forties noir B-movie The Dark Corner and what sounds like a very depressed philosopher or biologist resigned to the fact that all life just wears out, ends in death.

Past project music can be accessed from the Faith Strange website and future editions are promised.

Stephen Fruitman