Music Reviews

cover
Artist: Wil Bolton
Title: Bokeh
Format: CD
Label: Home Normal (@)
Rated: *****
This new release by Wil Bolton, a sound artist whose name often appeared on this zine by means of his lovely drone-ambient outputs or for some releases he dropped by his imprint Boltfish or in the guise of Cheju, names after "bokeh", a word which refers to a well-known photographic blurring technique that comes from the alteration of the Japanese word "boke", meaning "blur" or "haze". Some photographers consider it an "optical aberration" as many "boke" could come from wrong focusing of the optical lens, but it could be intentionally added to bring out some object from background or for artistic photography. A friend of mine who has a mania for Japan and photography explained to me that "boke" is also the word to describe the mental confusion of aged people suffering from senile dementia, but even if Wil's sonorities could sound vaguely melancholic, I don't think it's connected to senility! The opening title-track seems to translate the above-described photographic 'out-of-focus' technique into sound as he blurred resounding objects such as seagulls or distant traffic noises by means of diluted atmospheric vanishing varnish and bulged clear bell-like hits and he follows a similar pattern on the following tracks where Wil slightly changes blurred elements and blurring dynamics: an indistinct chatter and a wrapping frequency which sounds like frowning on this interference on "Sash", driving rain and loooped metallic hits on the track that got named from the Welsh village of Tramadog, recurring traffic sounds, playing children and chirping birds that got wrapped into a Boards Of Canada-like sonic blister which renders a certain sense of lukewarm astonishment on the pleasantly lulling "1887", electric buzzes and other faint voices on the entrancing "Pentaprism". The final dedication to his 1-year old niece "Moonlight (for Sophie)" where he included the melody of her toy telephone and other rattles is the most tender moment of the release and could let you surmise that the sonic optical lens by which Wil filtered surrounding reality is a sort of childish reverie where the differentiations that feature the perception of adults got levelled off.



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