FIS ~ From Patterns to Details

FISFrom Patterns to Details is an immersive album: thick, loudly mastered, and at times nearly abrasive.  While listening, one has the choice of focusing on the patterns, which are not always overt, and the details, which are nearly beyond number.

FIS crafts his compositions with touches of classicism, proceeding in movements and injecting unpredictable shifts.  For every crashing, cascading segment, there comes a corresponding quiet, like the moment in “Root Collars” in which every wave seems to subside, allowing a low subsonic rumble to be heard.  The hard industrial clanks of “SeaPR” (the artist is not without humor) dare the listeners to dance, or even to nod their heads, as the time signature seems completely unreliable ~ the tempo is ignored as soon as it is established.  Both this track and its successor, “Treat Inner Eris”, contain sampled waves, a nod to the organic elements that the artist attempts to reconcile with his technological assault.  The jet-engine roar that arrives late in the latter track throws the balance firmly to the latter; the album is simply not subtle enough to work as an organic/artificial blend.  Yet while it fails to fulfill its intended purpose, it continues to entertain ~ first by bludgeoning, then by lulling.

Perhaps the album’s greatest success is that it mimics the form of dance tracks while commenting on their predictability.  The closest thing to a crossover piece is “Independently Together”, which sounds like Ben Frost and Roly Porter in a dark alley, exchanging ideas.  Here patterns repeat and return, but never topple into accessibility.  In like fashion, the drones of “CMB Inna” exude a warmth that is offset by distorted rushes of synthesized squall.  From this maelstrom emerge hints of voice and strings, as if the organic has been swallowed in a digital surge, but instead of panicking, continues to sing.

The ten-minute closer, “Heart Wash”, does exactly what the album’s title advertises, concentrating on ambient washes and detailed drones.  Just try to pick apart the tendrils of the static cloud.  Hints of wind chimes and (once again) waves lurk in the background.  In the end, the storm passes.  One can hear the thunder as it moves away.  A violent beginning has led to a gentle end.  (Richard Allen)

Release date:  23 September

Available here

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