Published Feb 22, 2017Prolific Canadian sound artist Anne Sulikowski's latest release as Building Castles Out of Matchsticks is an intriguing, highly atmospheric journey into the psychological headspace of visionary science fiction author Philip K. Dick. It's appropriate, then, that the warped sonics she concocts evoke equal parts chilly alienation and nebulously familiar warmth, like the faded and distorted impression of a half-remembered dream, or the dissolving insights of a mushroom trip given form as undulating waves trapped in a slice of time.
Sulikowski employs an array of heavily processed synths, guitar effects and other sounds (tampered with beyond traditional recognition, in most cases) to create a churning and pulsing instrumental landscape of ambience and haunting motifs, punctuated by glitchy yet slinky grooves that would make Tricky grin.
Save for the trip-hop icon's smoky drawl (there are no vocals on the record), the brooding, highly textural sound collages and unexpected disarming beauty of Tricky's early work is one of Now Wait For Last Year's more recognizable sonic touchstones, but fans of Floating Points' more experimental inclinations will find common ground here as well, in the flourishes of dark jazz coated with celestial psychedelics.
Currently, Building Castles Out of Matchsticks is one of the hidden gems of Canada's experimental music scene, but this utterly entrancing work should open many new ears to the vividly realized worlds of sound Sulikowski creates. (Independent)