Review: Ab Uno – Metaforma (Mahorka, Sep 23)

One word stuck out to me in the short summary of Metaforma on the Mahorka Bandcamp page. It’s a favorite word of mine, one that often sticks out no matter what the context, especially in regards to music: primordial. Ancient, primitive, primal, visceral…I would use all of these to describe Metaforma, but it embodies those words in a subtle, unusual way. Produced with field recordings, modular synthesis, and various instruments, side A of the tape plays with bright, shimmering layers that are thin but dense. The way the sounds are mixed together avoids highlighting each individual element; instead, they come together to produce these light-filled constructions, rich yet homogeneous — which probably explains their density. The pieces amble along slowly, floatingly, and it’s easy to get lost in the movements of these sounds, even when rhythm is introduced. Side B, made by combining harmonic generator tones with two tape decks, maintains the lethargic pace, but these textures are much colder than the ones before. Not mechanical, nor metallic, just icier; it’s not difficult to imagine falling snow and gnarled icicles. Despite my focusing on them, Ab Uno’s unconventional methods don’t distract from the music, but it’s interesting to know how such unique noises were created.