Review: Asumaya – Of Water, Land, & Sky (Dagoretti, Mar 17)

When attempting to capture the essence of a particular place, one might think that too much intrusion on the part of the observer would be a hindering force. But in my opinion, interaction is one of many elements in the phonographer’s toolbox which allow them to present a sonic document that is truly their own. I don’t know much about Luke Bassuener’s project Asumaya, or whether Of Water, Land, & Sky is a significantly new direction for him, but the detailed and considered rhythmic abstractions of nature that comprise it are a delight nonetheless. The album was produced during a residency program of the same name in partnership with the Glacial Lakes Conservancy, and sees Bassuener plundering a wide array of organic sound objects (collected in the Willow Creek Preserve in Wisconsin) to create whimsical dance grooves. Birdsong, splashing water, and gusts of wind play prominent roles in the simple yet still meticulously constructed compositions; Bassuener sometimes focuses in on the anatomies of certain sounds, like when he isolates the familiar clunk of something heavy being dropped into water on “Streamed,” and other times seems more interested in portraying a comprehensive picture of his surroundings, like on “Marshed.” While rhythmic experimental music is often not my preference, I’ve seen how compelling similar approaches to Bassuener’s can be on tracks like lojii’s “Run It Down” (produced by Marc Rebillet), and the infectious woodland symphonies of this new Asumaya release are a pleasing escape in these decidedly claustrophobic times.

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