The concept behind Rudi Arapahoe's new album False Self is an interesting one, especially to anyone curious about the grey area between composition and improvisation. As detailed in the album's liner notes, Arapahoe used the SuperCollider programming language to create "an algorithmic musician designed to compose and play alongside my true self". The results were then used as a springboard for further improvisation, composition and performance of the musical information by human musicians on keyboard instruments, tuned percussion, bass flute and bass clarinet. The results are otherworldly and beautiful.
The six pieces, ranging from six to ten minutes in length, are decidedly eerie in atmosphere, hovering like phantoms unsure of their next life. The song titles 'Mechanical Mask', 'Petrification Phastasy' and 'Ice Carnival' offer a vivid glimpse of the soundworlds mapped out and available to explore. Sustained tones bleed out into '80s reverb. Struck metal shimmers and blooms. The spaces between the sounds are as important as the sounds themselves.
For some, this will probably fail to register as music, or will test the endurance like water torture. It's certainly firmly in the abstract ambient camp, yet I find there's just enough musical connectivity between these sounds to lead me, rapt, across this chilly chasm.
False Self is available now to download on a pay-what-you-want basis via Music Glue.