This album marks departure from Matchess, aka Whitney Johnson. Her last few works on Trouble in Mind and Monfounous Press radiated with their own particular light, but this time Johnson’s turned inward. The whole of Sonescent, feels like crawling inwards through the caverns of the mind. On the A-side, “Almost Gone,” a sonorous drone anchors the piece, crated though binaural waves, and the tether undulates throughout the piece. All around its hum, the feelings of faded memories and half-formed moments appear. As the piece opens, it’s like hearing the past through gauze, trying to parse the details from between repressed memories and shoved-aside feelings. Eventually the strings come swimming through the haze, but they’re less sweet when they surface — an anxious quality letting the clarity almost overwhelm the listener. It’s as if, once the dulling of the dream is burned away, the melody is too much to bear. The piece ends back in its womb once again, with a layer of protection thrumming in place — the serenity seeming waft through the cloud as well.
The second side opens with the cotton pulled back, but still the insistence of hum. Here though, there is corrosion, confusion. The sweetness that underpinned its predecessor, and the anxiety that follows are replaced by a disorientation, a disembodiment. There are still snatches of strings and melody, but it seems like all the playing is going on beyond some glass divider. The piece feels more like being wheeled around on a gurney, catching snippets of conversations, consciousness, and the overwhelming feeling to just let go and let things happen to oneself. The song becomes self aware though, around the fourteen-minute mark, and that anxiety eventually returns, before a final let-go into some sort of sweet oblivion that takes over and relaxes Sonescent into its final moments. This one isn’t the kind of record that will be enjoyed lightly, but a worthwhile journey meant to shake a bit of firmament.
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