One can learn a lot from a snail. A snail’s pace is slow, steady, deliberate. The creature carries its home upon its back. While some may accuse the snail of being lazy, it’s actually busy, always on the lookout for food. The New Honey Shade’s gorgeous video for Porya Hatami‘s “Snail” brings such lessons to the fore. Thanks to macro photography, we see things from a snail’s perspective; we progress at a snail’s speed. One need not stretch very far to find lessons in such slowness.
Ambient music tends to unfold at a similar pace. One doesn’t rock out or zip along to ambient music; one either allows it to unfold in the background, or one listens very, very closely. It’s easy to dismiss the genre if one isn’t paying attention. But there’s a lot going on in Hatami’s music, just as there’s a lot going on in the life of a snail. Melodies and micro-melodies morph and twist; field recordings weave their way through delicate textures. The Garden provides a soundtrack for six creatures (Firefly, Spider, Snail, Ladybug, Bee and Ant) whose actions might otherwise go unnoticed. This sonic garden provides a home for birds and rain, glitches and bells: beneath a placid surface, life is teeming.
Does one have the patience to listen to such a recording? The larger question might be, does one have patience? If so, all the better: the early hours are best, before the children awake and the traffic begins to flow. If not, might one learn from the snail? Is it better to go through life saying, “I don’t have time for such things” or to learn how to pace one’s self?
The rewards are here for those who wish to find them: soothing layers of crackling sound, balanced by sounds from the actual garden. It’s enough to make one want to go outside and find an actual snail in an actual garden, and to watch for a while. And this is Hatami’s intention: by slowing things down to a snail’s pace, he invites us to do the same. (Richard Allen)