Quartz may be Earth’s most common mineral, but the Quartz EP is anything but common. Call it tape loop collage, hauntology, plunderphonics, reconstituted classicism or drone, but no matter what the label, consider this release more “smokey” than opaque.
Sound artist Daniel Hipólito packs components into his mix like luggage in like a vacation trunk. This dense 7″ rotates at 33 1/3 so that its 15 minutes can fit snugly within its grooves. It may sound old, but it’s new, or perhaps the other way around; time, space and source are blurred beyond recognition. The Caretaker’s early works come to mind: fine abstractions that somehow manage to deliver substance.
When played consecutively, the music reflects a steady devolution from identifiable loops to uneasy mulch. The tracks don’t go in order (Movement VI, VII and V), but they make sonic sense. At first, listening is like wandering through Kubrick’s haunted ballroom. Distended loops repeat at various speeds, occasionally interrupted by curious fingers or misplaced grains. The disease arises not through repetition, but through variation; it’s easy to think one is alone as long as the sample repeats in the same fashion. But when the illusion of solitude is lost, paranoia sets in. One begins to wonder if the faraway themes are sinister or benign, and if one should move toward them or away. On the Quartz EP, if one waits too long to decide, one loses the ability to direct one’s own fate. The choirs fade at the end of “Movement VIII”, leaving pockmarked holes where the bread crumbs once lay. Now its all echo and blend. And this is where the EP’s beauty lies: in form dangled, then withdrawn. (Richard Allen)