Thursday, September 24, 2020
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Artist: Slicnation (@)
Title: Autoscopy
Format: Download Only (MP3 only)
Label: Silber Records (@)
The term 'autoscopy' refers to what is also known as the out-of-body experience, in which the individual undergoes a conscious sense of disembodiment. In particular, the body can be observed from an external, elevated perspective without loss of any sense of self. It is a mysterious phenomenon, perplexing throughout the ages, spiritually and neurologically important and, of course, ripe for creative interpretation.

In this case, Nic Slaton seems to be imagining a metaphorical soundtrack for certain aspects of this experience. The track titles make clear references to some of the ideas and feelings associated with autoscopy: 'Watcher', 'Doppelganger', 'Astral' (the realm of non-physical, spiritual phenomena), 'Repossession', 'Heautos' (presumably a reference to 'heautoscopy', the hallucination of seeing oneself elsewhere) and 'Maartechen' (a name linked with negative autoscopy, a disorder of which failing to acknowledge one's own reflection in mirrors is diagnostic). Indeed, the mid-heavy, drone-based ambient style of most of these compositions lends itself well to the incorporeal inscrutability attributed to autoscopy. Cavernous and muffled as if distantly heard from The Other Side, the leading drone in 'Watcher', surrounded by wavering loops, makes for an enjoyable introduction. 'Astral' does well with the metaphor, drifting through deeply soothing tones. 'Repossession' upholds the concept most successfully and is the best piece overall, suggesting the conclusion of the autoscopic experience with more subtlety than usual. Elsewhere, when instead negative autoscopy and heautoscopy are referenced, the unnerving potential of these disorders is represented by harsher, treble-rich textures.

Slaton's modus operandi on this album is to make use of a different, single sound source for each track, recorded without overdubs and processed through pedals. Most of his instruments seem to have been acoustic, with their natural tonal ranges strongly modified and blurred into droning fabrics. A novel if unreliable way of reading into this process might be that Slaton is also trying to goad his instruments into having their own autoscopic experiences, inducing the sonic range of each to expand beyond the physical limitations of the instrument body. The metaphorical result: cloudy, formless, disembodied.


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