Review: R. Schwarz – Wind 4-7 (Audio. Visuals. Atmosphere., Jul 19)

R. Schwarz’s new tape collects “four more exposures of the universal wonder of wind congealing in a compact cauldron.” While wind, like much of nature, is a powerful but ultimately neutral force, the sounds on Wind 4-7 manifest in a dark, mysterious, even unsettling atmosphere. The pieces move along at a lethargic pace, their abstract structures consisting of both the sound of wind itself and clattering, clinking objects that are set in motion by it. On “4” and “6” especially, these objects, whose identity is unknown but sound to me like an assortment of wind chimes, aerophones, tubes, etc, create hauntingly tactile textures. It’s unclear just how processed these sounds are – at the very least they are sequenced, layered, and mixed with each other – but for the most part the music is quite bare and neutral, which makes its eeriness even more profound. There’s still light outside, but a storm is coming; the clouds begin to smother the sun, a chill descends, and the ever-present wind picks up its pace to whip your hair back from your face and rattle everything around you. Schwarz has done well with the elusive task of harnessing and manipulating such a primordial entity while preserving its energy.