Nicholas Szczepanik
Not Knowing


4.0
excellent

Review

by Jonny Hunter CONTRIBUTOR (105 Reviews)
March 3rd, 2014 | 42 replies


Release Date: 02/25/2014 | Tracklist

Review Summary: now listen... now listen...

There's an interview out there with avant-garde hero John Cage in which he makes a very beautiful, if perhaps confusing statement. He says: "I love sounds just as they are, and I have no need for them to be anything more than what they are. I don't want them to be psychological. I don't want a sound to pretend that it's a bucket or that it's president or that it's in love with another sound. I just want it to be a sound." This isn't the most famous idea of his -this claim surely belongs to his composition "4'33," which is notorious for making a symphony of its audience- but as electroacoustic and ambient music in general spills into the mainstream it becomes increasingly relevant. Have a think about it if you want; it's not entirely necessary here.

This is because John Cage would probably hate Not Knowing, a 53 minute ambient/classical piece sounding precisely like a sound in love with another sound. Composed for another musical legend (it almost detracts from their status to mention them both in the same review), Éliane Radigue, it's a journey beginning with a single drone and ending much the same. In between, it's fair to say, it gets a lot more intimate.

The first 12 minutes serve as something akin to an attention-span test: consisting of nothing but a deep, pulsating rumble soon paired with a similarly translucent whine. It appears to breathe – going in, going out – and repeats with small, anthropomorphic distinctions. The wait is long, often intense and it's purgatory. It's waiting: time to reflect. John Cage would take this moment to admire the texture and nuances of the sound, but I suppose the rest of us would prefer to note how it burrows its way to full-body vibrations and nestles in the seat of your stomach like an internal nest egg.

The introduction of a quiet swell of highly romantic stings and drones almost feels like another piece of music. It's airy and dramatic: lurching and spinning this way and the other in some spontaneous twirl between ecstasy and tears. More than anything it's free, and placed around the initial throb you can't help but notice how weak, lonely and scared it makes it look. At the same time, there's a muddying quality to this new bombardment of sound which makes it clear you're not the object of the sound's affections. This ambience is the membrane though which we see the two separate pieces fall in love, and it's excited and beautiful but sadly too short; the next half hour passes in a rush of tender sighs before retreating to its original state.

Are the sounds pretending to be in love? It's ridiculous, they're sounds, but in the way we see the world we can tell the story as we see fit and have the sounds tell it back. Rarely is a sound so sweet yet so perfectly personable: a fairytale love affair where the story and the characters don't matter. What matters is the idea of love itself, that is exists, and that when we project it on the most innocent of phenomena it has the ability to bring us to tears.



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user ratings (7)
Chart.
3.5
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2014


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I didn't even want to stop myself gushing - this is stunning

Listen: http://nszcz.bandcamp.com/album/not-knowing

John Cage interview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2aYT1Pwp30M

John Cage interview made into an awesome album intro: http://bosquesdemimente.bandcamp.com/track/pr-logo

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
March 2nd 2014


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Fantastic, I remember spinning Please Stop Loving Me a while back. Didn't know he was still putting
out music. Will spin this soon

Relinquished
March 2nd 2014


25581 Comments


i like the dude's name

i'll check

LordePots
March 3rd 2014


8232 Comments


sounds boring tbh

Digging: Kitty Pryde - FROSTBITE

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2014


31493 Comments


3rd paragraph reminds me of:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hc2DbWGZmN0

Digging: Hyperdub - Hyperdub 10.4

LordePots
March 3rd 2014


8232 Comments


rude

Gyromania
March 3rd 2014


15967 Comments


is it though?

LordePots
March 3rd 2014


8232 Comments


who knows

MisterTornado
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2014


4507 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"now listen... now listen..."

Is that a reference to The Island Come True?

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2014


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sounds boring tbh


I spent most of the weekend researching, downloading and getting groovy to house music after that "deep house" list. Was still able to drift into this no problem.

3rd paragraph reminds me of...


Shit on the mind?

Is that a reference to The Island Come True?


Always

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2014


21448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gotta check this.

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
March 3rd 2014


31493 Comments


90% of the time, yes. But in this case, I had just read this:

http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/the-loudest-sound-system-in-the-world-will-kill-you-if-you-hear-it

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2014


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Free parties will never be the same now we know what we're missing ):

gosk8n
March 3rd 2014


1058 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

will listen b'cus you mentioned john cage and i also need more ambient and classical in my life

JamieTwort
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2014


21448 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is excellent.

RoyalImperialGuard
March 3rd 2014


1323 Comments


The first contributor review I've read in years. Excellent work, sounds cool.

LordePots
March 3rd 2014


8232 Comments



I spent most of the weekend researching, downloading and getting groovy to house music after that "deep house" list. Was still able to drift into this no problem.


no I mean your review didn't make this sound boring, but I went and listened to the album for a while and it lost my attention pretty quick :/

gosk8n
March 3rd 2014


1058 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

the 12 min introduction is prob not needed but there are some beautiful moments in this piece

LordePots
March 3rd 2014


8232 Comments


Yeah I skipped around a bit to see where it was going and where it was going didn't interest me much

StrangerofSorts
Contributing Reviewer
March 3rd 2014


2719 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ah it's cool man, fair bit of imprinting going on on my part so I can hardly expect everyone to be so keen (:



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