Codiaeum Variegatum is a toxic, tropical plant species, which inspired the name of Anne Guthrie’s debut full-length album. Field recordings are a huge part of this recording, from wind and water to birds and bees. Guthrie is happy to join the conversation of flora and fauna; we just hope she didn’t get too close. The artist attacks the threat of nature’s vulnerability and sears her way into a greater consciousness conjoined with all things sentient. On this album, she sputters, spits and spurts through her aerophones (primarily French horn) to share secrets with birds, while she hews through the disconnect with trees via a series of descending, richly patterned string motifs (mostly cello, some viola).
Guthrie’s kitchen-sink array of instrumentation and sound source, coupled with her composition and construction style, shares an aesthetic familiarity with Kaboom Karavan. In “Long Pendulous”, she triggers the playful madness of a baby making noises to experiment with the world’s reactions. This then gives way to swirling environmental washes of fear and scrape, creating an exhilarating effect. Guthrie’s ability to guide listeners through this psychic rollercoaster and bring them out the other side relatively unscathed is a sign of true brilliance, and not some baroque compositional flair.
Guthrie’s music is a study in texture, in which fractal patterns align themselves to double-helixes. “Persists Into Winter” shares the DNA of Thomas Köner’s Nunatak. Both ambient and hauntological, it serves as a meditative coda, the frigidity of a last breath contemplating simple beauty in the pattern and repetition of the leaves of a tropical plant. The listener exhales in appreciation. (Gabe Bogart)
Release date: 18 February