Seam is an album of stitches that holds together like a garment. To create the album, Steinbrüchel + Cory Allen cut pieces of sound from sonic fabric: scraps, strips, mismatched corners and unwanted fragments. Each tried to make something of the assortment, then sent the incomplete project to the other, who in turn tackled the order, the reason, the arrangement. A skeleton began to form, like the beginnings of a box puzzle: an image, a corner, a piece that didn’t quite belong here but might belong there. A tone matched a tone; a note offset a note. As the artists continued to correspond, they began to see increased possibilities. A string might connect these two patches; an overlap might cover this incongruity. The result is an album whose art reflects its contents, a patchwork quilt that flows with complementary sounds.
In its current form, Seam is a single work: six longer tracks connected by seven shorter tracks. The bridgework is as important as the primary pieces, in the same way as a series of borders is just as important as a quilt’s more obvious contents. The album flows in a manner that one would call “seamless” even if one were unaware of the title. One is not supposed to see the seams, but at the same time, an awareness of their locations can increase one’s appreciation of the craft. Because the album flows so well, it produces a restful feeling; this despite the fact that the individual noises can be as lulling as bells or as gently abrasive as crossed wire static. ”Seam 5″ is particularly effective due to this contrast between light and dark. At their juncture, neither seems opposed to the other. When white noise arises toward the track’s end, the listener grows even more appreciative, realizing that the two artists have made a joint decision not to play it safe: to make an ambient album that starts as wallpaper, then rips itself off the floor and starts walking around the house, looking for a new host. Even the end and the beginning of the album are the same: a perfect seam waiting to be recognized by an immediate replay.
By this stage, it’s impossible to tell who’s got the dark thread and who’s got the light. Suffice it to say that each artist has a needle, a thread, and a keen sense of stitching. Their combined efforts create a work that is warm enough to be worn and yet attractive enough to be framed. (Richard Allen)