A Last Picture From Voyager - Laboratory
Released: October 20
Marking his fifth full-length release, A Last Picture From Voyager takes the title of his newest album rather literally. As he describes it, "each track is a case study using different techniques, gear, processes, sound resources." Such a description is rather apt and the variety can be heard throughout the compostions, but it never feels as though anything strays too far from a common theme. Everything feels rather foggy and vintage, as if there is that texture of old analog static that more or less permeates everything as old tapes slowly wear out and degrade.
Two of my favorite tracks on the album play deeply into this motif, "Asynchronous toy piano" and "Data tape music." The first of these two gives a bit away in the name as a small, soft, and cheap piano rings out among deep and dark hums of bass and uncomfortably reverberated spaces. It is hard to pin down where exactly these sounds are coming from - are they reflections of the piano itself or something else entirely? I suppose that is the magic of ALPFV's experimental process. The second of these two is much more murky in its sourcing but leans harder into the analog degradation. Little bleeps ring out into a background of heavy tape hiss, a level of hiss seemingly not meant for audio consumption. But my favorite part of the track is the end, in which we get to hear a piece of the audio repeat multiple times, each time falling dramatically in quality until it falls apart completely. It's a rather beautiful way to creatively destroy something.