Lee Gamble ~ In a Paraventral Scale

In a Paraventral Scale plays with the idea that there might be a musical note set that exists at the sides of the ventral scales, which can be found at the bottom of snakes, smaller and more flexible, covered by a very thin oil that prevents the reptile from getting stuck with every pebble and piece of rough terrain it might traverse. The complete, confusing shift in topics that I just made is exactly the kind of associative leap embedded in Lee Gamble’s ‘semioblitz’ technique, which consists of reproducing the experiential overload of contemporary city life. One meaning blends into another, like the liquid metal of the “Many Gods, Many Angels” video, slithering not a form of movement but a form in itself.

This EP is the first of a “triptych sonic documentary” called Flush Real Pharynx, its surrealistic treatment of a medical word reflected not only in the EP’s name, but also in the poly-droning edges of tracks like “Fata Morgana”, one easily identifiable sound swiveling clearly into the unknown. It would be easy -and logical- to think of the sensory mass attack of cities as noise, but what Gamble is producing here is not the migraine-induced states of modern fallouts (pollution of all kinds); it is the slick shapes of rational urbanization, the efficiency of public transport and wide avenues, the glittering symmetry of skyscrapers what comprises this sweeping assault upon each and every cell of our bodies. Like the signals that wash over any and all cities, perpetually mapping their vibrations, our bodies pulse and change in every direction, existential stress the outcome of our alignment with the cities’ own slithering. Every sound here is clear and crisp, even at its noisiest, like in “BMW Shuanghuan X5”, which introduces recordings of car motors revving and the glissando tones of a fast car flying by, In a Paraventral Scale creates an aural certainty that in the tension of dissonance finds comfort.

That is, after all, what everyone native to a city has probably experienced at some point or another: the chaos, the slithering, is a pleasurable zone of ambiguous self-dissolution and self-affirmation. All the noises become crystal-clear, their meanings not set in stone but orderly blundering into each other, a broken window simultaneously an accident, an act of violence, a party, a prank, a construction, a work of art… and this is where Gamble also makes the question of volume supremely relevant, in the sense that every sound seems meant for a specific volume. Like getting used to sleeping with the background low-key groan of city traffic, the density of sounds becomes ingrained in our ears’ capacity for filtering and focusing on specific, minute things. In a city like mine, you get to know pretty much intimately the meaning of certain sounds in certain contexts, the key, for example, to distinguishing between a firework, a blown tire, or the sound of a gun. And yet, those meanings are not fixed, and, like the rest of the city, they tend to slither.

It’s a great start to what seems will be a really interesting triptych, which I hope continues the assault in new and particular ways of thinking about cities. (David Murrieta Flores)

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