Whether or not it’s the soul of wit, brevity does often compel an artist to pare down to essentials. Thus it is with these four new releases from Silber Records’ 5 in 5 series of EPs, each of which contains five tracks totaling five minutes. As it happens, the twenty tracks collectively represent twenty different ways to set one minute in sound.
The five pieces on The Body Electric by Kirchenkampf (electronic musician John Gore) manage to cover a rolling terrain in five short strides. From the foreboding electronic wash of the opening EEG through the closing Galvani, which brings to mind a shortwave receiver tuned between stations, Gore develops a musical rhetoric of metallic timbres rooted in pulse and periodicity that undulates at variable speeds. Llarks’ 5 x 5 is Chris Jeely’s treated guitar framed by abstract sounds. Each track is built around a kind of skeleton chord progression sketched out as an arpeggio, cadence or elliptical cycle. Parties—P D Wilder, Joe Morgan and Andrew Weathers—likewise create effects-laden, guitar-centered music layered over pedal points or percolating synths. The Japanese cinema-inspired Aokigahara by X-Bax (Phil Dole) is, despite the grim implications of its underlying concept, composed of mostly melodic miniatures for guitar with a dose of heavy rock and gritty drone on the final two cuts.