Subexotic returns to the fray this month with the release of Knowing the right question to ask, the debut LP from Counter Silence, otherwise known as Southend based composer/producer Col Ventura. Drawing comparisons with the classic work of Harold Budd and Brian Eno, as well as the more recent solo forays of The Necks’ Chris Abrahams, Knowing the right question to ask is a beguilingly immersive, spectral and otherworldly work.
The album kicks off with an early highlight in the shape of ‘A distance left to travel’, with its slow motion bell-like tones eerily reminiscent of a music box winding down to stillness. Piano appears to be more conventionally utilised on ‘In the brightness, we would linger’, but the notes seem almost to have been dragged backwards out of a silence into which they had previously disappeared. The tempo is upped by Side 1 closer ‘The balance of possibilities’, with its chiming jauntiness suggestive of a malfunctioning automaton playing the marimbas. Side 2 opens with ‘Wonderlust’ departing most clearly from the album’s core focus on keyboard work, with its gentle ebbing and flowing drones offset by an accumulation of distant gong and wind chimes. The album reaches an apotheosis of radiant sonic stasis with the blinking starfield of ‘All secrets dance in time’, before the final piece, ‘We, who stand still’, insinuates the tiniest hint of unease into proceedings, with its queasy slithering quality suggesting the nightmare that clings to the underside of the dream.
Knowing the right question to ask has already received some welcome exposure with the inclusion of the track ‘When the clocks have stopped’ on The Wire magazine’s Wire Tapper 33 compilation CD, and airplay on BBC Radio 3’s influential Late Junction programme.
Head over to the Subexotic online shop to secure your copy of Knowing the right question to ask – available on digital (MP3 or WAV), CD, or vinyl.