Review: Philip Sulidae – Perplexor (LINE, Feb 7)

For over a decade, Australian artist Philip Sulidae has been probing the most remote depths of sound to create his spellbindingly fragile works, with releases on Unfathomless (History of Violence, Ramshead), Verz (Glass), Linear Obsessional (Conurb), Audio. Visuals. Atmosphere. (Le Voile), and his own Hemisphäreの空虚 (Variations on Plastic, Petrification and Strife), among others. His newest release, Perplexor on LINE, is a deeply conceptual work of electrical interference, delicate whispers, and empty space. Described quite ambiguously as “a deference and conjecture for past and present sound,” the set of three pieces are carefully assembled from the wispy, crumbling remnants of sounds and memories lost to time. Each acts as a humbly vague reconstruction of a particular place at a particular time, but since those times are so long ago (1970, 1929, 1894), both the reconstructor and the listener are left only with a few vestigial fixtures swathed in the ghostly shroud of all the moments that have been trampled by history’s ever-surging stampede. As we drift through the barely-substantial forms of Sulidae’s diaphanous weavings, we latch onto the few sonic landmarks that occasionally surface amidst the void—car honks, rainfall, distant clatter—but they’re gone as soon as they arrive, leaving us scrambling for purchase, a futile action when surrounded by nothingness. Perplexor, perhaps appropriately, is an uncanny experience, a skillful construction of absence-with-presence, but it is also tremendously beautiful.