Have you ever used the program MetaSynth? If the answer is yes you are probably booting it up now and re-basking in its glory. If not let me just provide a little bit information about it. MetaSynth essentially reads waveforms, or more accurately, reads images that you create or import into MetaSynth as waveforms. One can import, say, a picture of their dog and MetaSynth will essentially produce a sort of grating noise, but with practice and manipulation one can enjoy the pleasures that come with listening to what you draw. I had the privilege to spend a fair amount of time with MetaSynth, but often never got over its near-novelty and limited sounds, especially as I was nowhere near as smart as its developers and the people who’ve mastered it.
Scarcity of Moments is the duo of experimental musicians Michael Chocholak and Johann Meier. ‘Lucid Dreaming’ is (somehow) the result of guitar and bass manipulations to create very electronic, fractal ambient music. It is as well inspired by avant-garde novelists such as Alain Robbe-Grillet (for those who don’t know, famous for his use of detail repetition in place of things like inner monologue, though I fail to find anything patently repetitive in such slow ambient compositions). I mention Metasynth because, at its worst, ‘Lucid Dreaming’ sounds as ambitious as the frustrating tinkering I once had with Metasynth (which sometimes, and I’m sorry, just sounded like the deep echoes of muzak in an empty tiled mall). At its best this is near-compelling ambient—painfully slow in execution, meditative, and interesting. Though perhaps the most interesting piece of information might have been discovering the way in which a guitar and a bass can be manipulated (I’m assuming post-recording) to sound the furthest away from what we associate with them with—they are instead eerie, floating, heavenly electronic drones, blips, and fogs.
Perhaps I require density for my musical sustenance but there seems something fairly tired and uninspired about the way this duo went about putting their pieces together. I’ve made numerous attempts to try to pin down what characteristic about slow-churned music makes it hypnotizing and effective, but I’m still at a loss and all I can say is that, for me, this release seems to be missing this characteristic. I think I’ve also tried to pin down why I don’t like ‘sonic interpretations’ of this or that theorist/novelist/thinker. In poetry workshops one is often told that, as anyet-unaccomplished writer you can’t get away with far-reaching references. I mean, I like an album based (loosely) on Bentham’s theory of prison systems, but often times artists might need to realize that their audience will not instantly make the connections they wish to espouse. Perhaps this is a moot point, ultimately you should just be listening. 6/10 -- John Ganiard (12 August, 2009)