Nickolas Mohanna: Phase Line (Run/Off, 2015)

January 31, 2015 at 6:45 pm | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

Nickolas Mohanna: Phase Line

Nickolas Mohanna: Phase Line

The only other release I’ve heard by Nickolas Mohanna is Reflectors, his entry in Preservation’s Circa For 2011 series, which was my favorite release of that series. I thought that album was a different, more abrasive yet still blissful variation on the arpeggio-heavy synth-drone stuff that was coming out around that time. This album consists of two 17-minute pieces commissioned for a touring sound exhibition, and continues to be an aggressive, sometimes noisy/cut-up take on freeform electronic music, which can’t really be held by genre terms such as “ambient” or “drone”. There’s so many sounds being stretched apart, delayed and smashed back into each other, and while it can sometimes seem like you’re floating, it’s not just an airy, weightless feeling, you’re still in control and everything you’re feeling effects you. It’s enjoyable, though, it’s definitely not some sort of harsh cathartic experience. The second half (“Interstate”) gets a bit more rhythmic and melodic, which pulsating tones which almost resemble gabber kickdrums at one point, and then a bright somewhat-melodic tone which dissolves into rapid fluttering. It sounds like there’s some voices poking in and out of the mix, but who can tell where they’re coming from or what they’re saying. There’s such a heavy concentrated sensory experience, but eventually it simmers down to just one vibrating tone for the last few minutes of the piece.

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