AirSculpture: Graveyard Shift
Graveyard Shift by AirSculpture
Released: 17 May 2014
So what is the present but an outgrowth of the past? The early work of Tangerine Dream is often cited as establishing the “Berlin-School”. They explored a new territory, which left a path. Decades later we find the UK synth trio AirSculpture fully invested in musical endeavors meant to advance the ideals established during this golden age of synthesizer and sequencer Spacemusic. Graveyard Shift (64’15”), the product of their STAR’S END live to air studio session of 19 November 2006, feels like a less urgent/more tech savy re-imagining of the TD classic Ricochet (1975). This style speaks to us as no other form can. It is a music sensitive to its own era, as we are not listening “to” something, but listening “for” something. It expresses a mood, an atmosphere, a tone in a numberless variety of subtle shadings and differences. Graveyard Shift includes two tracks, the more focused and compact “Argent Engine” (10’32”) was earlier found on the now out of print STAR’S END 30th Anniversary CD. This ten minute sequencer piece charges through space like a starship whooshing past solar systems, while the title track expands slowly over three sections and 50 minutes at a more deliberate pace. Beginning in an amorphous texture this piece fills space with dense sound forms. Drifting, rolling drones and chords form a current of sound – out of which patterns of tones echo and advance so very slowly. As these electronic droplets gradually move outward and fill in the empty slots and skips the pulse of this track quickens, growing our anticipation. “Graveyard Shift” (53’41”) sustains an interesting energy throughout its run, never peaking, but never running out of fuel. Chords mix with lead melody lines as synthesizers rush and then wait in service to a most interesting compositional contour – facilitated by the late-night hour of this recording session and the objective of producing a sustained listening space for all the folks out there in radioland. In the third movement the sonic content starts to melt as metallic muted ringing and modulated effects bring us to an unusual zone of timbre experiments and a darkening chill. Music is an art that exists in point of time. Its events are abstract in nature, and pulling them all together in the imagination is difficult for the audience. Added value comes when listening to Graveyard Shift for more than the sheer pleasure, more than the potent and primitive force, of sound itself. This music has an expressive power and a meaning behind the notes – which as listeners is our purpose to feel.