AMN Reviews

AMN Reviews: Cinchel – Witnessing (2015; Pan y Rosas)

cinchel-witnessingThis is an artist from Chicago, apparently a guitarist but I don’t believe there are any guitars here, who succeeded in creating something very big from something very little.  While the raw materials, tools and overall results are completely different, I can’t help but being reminded of the Australian trio The Necks who use a similar work ethic.  That is, turning the bare bones, the very whisp of an idea into a Gulliver sized edifice of sound.

Starting with a taped fragment of a conversation, maybe about 30 seconds long as the base material, we then get treated to it’s gradual deconstruction and resulting reconstruction.  This Lucier-like transformation was in a word, fascinating.  Things start happening fairly quickly on this 39 minute release.  About 5 minutes in, and without hardly realizing it, the benign taped fragment metamorphosed into a rolling cascade of human voices.  If a voice was a physical construct, something that you can see, touch and feel, cinchel very cleverly animated this thing and kicked it down a mountainside.  Not just one voice, but hundreds…and it sounded like it was a tumbling avalanche gaining power as the seconds progressed.

Not sure how this was going to be resolved (spoiler…sorry) I could only keep listening.  After all, it’s not everyday voices take on a Nintendo character aspect as I could only believe that there was going to be a level change soon.  And there was, but it was very subtle…things very slowly started smoothing out. Rough edges started getting buffed, sandpaper-like shards of sound became velvety smooth drone-like things.  Buried within were razor sharp beams of noise that may have been the ghosts of that long dead 30 second conversation that started this piece.  After the nano second it took me to process those ghosts I probably uttered “What?” but, then again maybe I just thought I did.

Because, when it was all over I couldn’t help but think I was lifted from one place to another.  It made me smile.  Good stuff here!

Michael Eisenberg