Freida Abtan – Subtle Movements [Jnana Records, 2007]

Freida Abtan - Subtle MovementsSubtle Movements is a small masterpiece of sound and its processing. Working in the vein of acousmatic music, while completing her Master’s Degree in electroacoustic composition at the Université de Montréal, Freida Abtan has conducted a grand alchemical experiment- one lasting four years. In her words:

“There is a very real magic in the manipulation of sound. Hidden intricacies that might not be perceptible when a sound is ingested raw are rendered audible through processing. Samples take on the characteristics of the methods by which they are treated and become
indistinguishable from others only to regain their separate identities after careful filtering. My compositions follow the path forged by visual collagists: a unified beast created from shards of the mundane.”

This “unified beast” seems to be part chimera and part golem. Sometimes it staggers towards toward us with uncanny rumblings, other times it tickles the ear with intimate delicacy. While Abtan takes some points of departure from collaborator Steven Stapleton/ Nurse With Wound (who appears here on two exceptional tracks), she definitely stakes her own territory, a meadow where beauty and weirdness commingle. In a mode that suggests synaesthesia, her sound conjures unusual places, smells and sights. Subtle Movements is a musical potion designed to draw you into the Eighth Climate, stimulating your imagination as it caresses your quivering pineal gland. It is, by turns, exotic, erotic and awe-inspiring. Surrender to its magic; an unforgettable transmission from some distant oneiric outpost.

Steve Aydt

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Freida Abtan @ MySpace
Jnana Records