Decaycast Reviews: CONSCIOUS SUMMARY “EXHAUSTIONS” (SKIN TRADE RECORDINGS, 2O18)
The newest work from LA’s CONSCIOUS SUMMARY carves a sharp and distinct lineage from their previous works to this newest release from California based SKIN TRADE RECORDINGS. “Exhaustions” encapsulates the delicacy and intimacy in which Samur Khouja, the person behind Conscious Summary handles his sounds. The first side, “Commitment To An Extinction” begins with a low, bubbly rumble just below a present volume and continues to undulate at a stasis-like pacing of a slow churning dark, gurgling sounds interjected with sharp and poignant shards of violent sorcery. The aggressively present scraping eventually gives way to a more subtle, peaceful tone poem of pulsating drones. We are left in a contemplative, peaceful place, but not for long, a new dawn is on the horizon, one we did not plan for. The peaceful poem turns into a dynamic battle for space and form; shivering blades of sonic chaos, accented through monstrous spurts of distorted, harsh, frequency battles, which slowly and effortlessly take control as background synthesizers pulse, hum, and vibrate with ascending tones while the chaos ensues. After a brief but present harsh section the listener is once again placed into a new identity, which gently, calming efforts of swelling sine waves, which are so delicate and nuanced they almost weep to the listener in a morose, subtle, nuanced phrase.
The B side offers more voice forward pieces with stretched voices and textured, articulated synth happenings work in a high tension psychedelic harmony similar to the oncomings of a long, desert experienced LSD trip, but this psychedelia is sonic, and not chemical based. Through masterfully mixed and layered synth and voice sections, Khouja creates high tension electronic happenings, with choked and eviscerated voice offerings thumped by a sub bass drone/beat that will take the listener unto the next plane of existence, an unknown place with spatial distortions unknown to our current mind.
The sounds of “Exhaustions” pull from harsh noise, drone, ambient, and new age strategies in the best way possible, referencing these historic practices while simultaneously shattering the expectations of what any of these could and should be. Khouja masterfully blends these styles in a hypnotic, meditative tour de force of minimalist contemporary electronic music. “Exhaustions” is not worlds away from the work of say Pauline Olaveros or Terry Riley however it offers its own dynamic breath of sonic interpretation. “Exhaustions” is poised, patent, and all around a profound minimalist interpretation of space, form, tension, and experience. Highly recommended, there is also a special edition encased in a wooden box which looks beautifully crafted, and a perfect enclosure for this cavernous work of experimental electronics and voice.