Review: Coagulant – Rendlesham Transmitter (self-released, Feb 27)

On Rendlesham Transmitter, UK sound art and research project Coagulant follows up their superb previous release Anamorphoses with another set of deeply immersive abstract soundscapes. The approach to sonic processing they adopt is once again pleasingly aggregate, with spacious room recordings and airflow drones melding with distant voices and clatter to create opaque, mysterious currents of sound—the elements all truly “coagulate” into something new. For me, Coagulant’s music is difficult to elucidate because it is so unavoidably holistic; just like the complex psychological processes it attempts to examine, each piece the project generates unfolds as an inseparable whole, the multitude of ingredients that constitute them always bound within a dense knot of relationships. This quality provides an explanation for why each track is able to draw so much from what is essentially stagnancy (on “DMT Entities” especially, not much changes throughout its nearly 24-minute duration, yet “boring” or “repetitive” are the absolute last words I would use to describe it); the listener spends their time constantly attempting to decipher that tangled web of inextricable relations, trying in vain to isolate each component in this congealed amalgam of auditory uncertainty. As background music, Rendlesham Transmitter is meditative, nocturnal, murky; as focused listening, it’s an impenetrable clump of sound that we’re constantly trying to break open, but all we can really do is perceive it from different angles and futilely try to convince ourselves that we have it all figured out.