Review: Concrete Colored Paint – Free Association (Park 70, Apr 30)

Peter Kris of German Army’s second outing as Concrete Colored Paint (after his split with tape skronk duo Tap Water on Lighten Up Sounds earlier this year) is titled Free Association, a phrase that could have a variety of meanings for this particular work. Firstly, some of the only information provided on the album page is that many of the sounds were recorded in Puerto Rico, a country well known for its efforts to become a freely associated sovereign state. Kris once again captures more than just the sounds of the environments he records, evoking the stuffy humidity of the Caribbean and a sense of endless space as the songs of sea birds fade into the distance. There’s also a “free association” between Kris’s use of field recordings and his more musical additions to the pieces: the fuzziness of it all makes it difficult to pinpoint where the purely diegetic sounds end and the external contributions begin, an ambiguity that gives off more beauty than confusion. You get the sense that he’s carefully playing along to whatever musicality he hears in the recordings he’s collected, using formless drones and loops that easily blend into the warm, hissing sonic backdrop already present, constructing vivid, comforting soundscapes.