James Holden & Camilo Tirado/Luke Abbott Outdoor Museum of Fractals/555hz
Published Feb 24, 2016Border Community's split double-LP Outdoor Museum of Fractals and 555hz is filled with — as the title suggests — museum vibes that read most like an art piece. Created partly as a response to an event celebrating Terry Riley, a heavily Indian classical music and jazz-inspired performer and composer, this meditative concoction is calculated and respectful of both classical music traditions and contemporary trends.
James Holden, Camilo Tirado and Luke Abbott — young and individually prevalent in the modern world of electronic music and experimentalism — took inspiration from Riley's intricate composing methods and, rather than duplicating his affects, tried their hands at creating something fresh in the same style he has perfected over his long career. This large musical offering is a marathon of Zen, minimalist like Riley's method but chaotic in the style of its three creators. The contributions on this LP are dense, and listeners who relish picking apart sounds of a whole will appreciate its complexity.
Using numerical musical systems, Holden, with the help of Tirado's pitched table drumming, eloquently combines tribal beats and digital sounds on their joint effort Outdoor Museum of Fractals, producing a fusion of classical and contemporary sounds and an unfolding affect that, over time, overwhelms the listener. A long, focused lesson in arpeggio and drone synth meditation, both this portion of the album and Abbott's especially spacey 555hz are meant to be listened to in their entirety rather than in split listening sessions.
Here, Holden, Tirado and Abbott have created two linear art pieces that develop at their own pace and urge the listener to develop with them. Bespoke module synth sounds and gong interruptions help to create a spiralling technique that transcends the looping patterns of electronica. It's an artist's endeavour, a performance piece rather than strictly musical entertainment; Outdoor Museum of Fractals and 555hz is electronic music for the sake of musical exploration.
This double LP works equally well as background music to aid relaxation and focus, or as a hypnotic close listen to whose Zen affects the listener will eventually succumb. (Border Community)