Friday, March 23, 2012

Best Albums of 2011 #2 Ezekiel Honig - Folding in on Itself (Type)

 I generally write my own description of the albums I post here but the description from the Type website is simply too good. So here it is:

"Describing the musical output of Ezekiel Honig is always the hardest part. It’s related to techno, but the pulsing 4/4 beats are pushed so far into the background that they simply become another texture in the sprawling ambience. And that doesn’t mean to say the music is ‘ambient’ either – the structures are far deeper than musical wallpaper that achieves that label right now. New York-based Honig’s latest album and Type debut ‘Folding In On Itself’ doesn’t make his music any easier to describe but does a lot to clarify the mood. This is deeply melancholy music, and while it doesn’t revel in sadness, it conveys a sense that the things we grew up with and see disappear can never be recaptured. Memory and the corruption or distortion thereof is at the core the record, and like the cover which is made up of hazy family snaps of a changing Manhattan, Honig has tried to capture a sense of entropy in his quickly disintegrating city.
Using a palette of locally recorded environmental samples, decayed acoustic instruments and the unusual, clattering percussion that has become his signature, ‘Folding In On Itself’ is probably Honig’s most measured and defining record. Elements of his previous work are still present, heard most obviously the breakthrough ‘Surfaces of a Broken Marching Band’, but every tiny part has been trimmed and honed with a selfless attention to detail. From the lilting processed horns and clipped percussion on ‘Subverting the Memory of Your Surroundings’ to the noisy, slowly decomposing piano of ‘Drafting Foresight’, there is a sense that Honig has distinct story to tell, and that every track on the album is a unique part of the same object. Far from a random collection of tracks, ‘Folding In On Itself’ is an introverted collection of musings on change and loss, and is as softly spoken and moving as anything we have put out on Type to date. Handle with care."

Not much else to say. Folding in on Itself is fantastic. It's like nothing else I've ever heard. I was listening to it a few months ago while sitting on the PATH train heading into New York City. I was wearing earbud headphones with the volume set fairly low. As I was listening, I realized that the sounds of the train - the rattling, rumbling, whooshing, reverberating mechanical acoustic sounds - were filtering in, layering over and seeping into the music. It took me a while to notice however because those sounds, rather than distracting, simply fit perfectly into the pieces Honig presents here - not filtering under or over but within. When an album can work in radically different contexts - and not only work but offer up a new listening experience and even a new way of hearing other things - it's surely something special. Folding in on Itself is one of those rare albums.

Buy or Buy

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