WHEN LIGHT - The Lithophonic Suites

Released: April 9

The Lithophonic Suites is both an accompaniment to another piece of art as well as its own free standing piece of art itself. Nestled off somewhere in the West Slopes area of Colorado, visual artist Danny Rosen created work named Suspended Erosion, which consists of meticulously placed stones hung carefully in a suspended formation. Spring-boarding from this idea, the local sound artist When Light created a five-piece audio work based off of recordings from similar types of stones being struck by a number of different items. These recordings were then rearranged and manipulated in various ways to create an album of predominantly ambient works that delves deep into experimental territory. 

With this unusual method of constructing an ambient album, the results are rather varied in their tones and motifs. The album is mainly driven by percussive sounds, which obviously makes sense considering the source material. Much of the tonalities we get here resemble something like a glockenspiel or a marimba, except made of stone. When Light uses these tones to great effect for much of the album, with suites one through four being centered completely around consistent rhythms. "Lithophonic Suite #2" is one of my favorites in this regard as the rhythm is rather odd but has an strangely groovy swing to it. It is also accompanied by some very light pad sounds of unknown origin, though I have to assume that When Light managed to squeeze a pad out of one of the many stones at his disposal. 

The final track, "Lithophonic Suite #5" seems to largely break from this rhythmically centered motif. Instead, we get thrown into a more erratic world, one in which the percussive sounds surrounding us have seemingly little sense of cohesion. Off kilter hits, twinkles, and rumbles swim around in the stereo space, enveloping the listener in what amount to a very soft cacophony. If it sounds like it's out of place, I promise you it is not. It fits in perfectly here at the end and serves as something like a callback to the original art piece it is based on - listening as the rhythms figuratively erode away and leaving something that only slightly resembles it original form.     


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