Our first review of the year covers an album from Poland, where Christian Maiwald records under the moniker mayforest. This gorgeous 45-minute track loops and layers from opening crackle to gracious exit, expressing a sense of suspension: a clock in honey, moving incrementally and almost unnoticed.
We applaud the composer for making this a single piece, as it started as several pieces that were then glued, stitched together and ironed. The seams don’t show. This extends the mood throughout the playing time and perhaps a few minutes beyond. The title – nocny – means nightly or nocturnal, which makes this a fine companion to Yann Novak’s Blue Hour. As the composer writes, “Night can be a time of quietness and warmth, but also a time of bleak thoughts and loneliness.” Night can also be a feeling, in this case one of abeyance. The world is passing through another such night right now, caught in between things, activities put on pause as we await the secession of yet another surge. We’re also caught between years, wondering what the new year will bring, although it has not yet been revealed; and like this track, there’s no rushing it.
We don’t always notice when minute things change, especially when they do so at a glacial pace. nocny possesses many such changes, including small dots that sound like the rattling of mice in cupboards or the etching of frost. Elements drop out and enter like people passing through our lives, like weather conditions, like glimpses of knowledge found and forgotten. And yet, there is always movement; when one looks back over a vast period of time, one can see the progress one has made, or at least the distance one has traveled. A literary corollary can be found in E. Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News. Some nights seem never-ending, and yet they end. This night we are in will end as well, but this does not mean the night is without merit. In the night can be found beauty, perspective, hard-won wisdom. nochy is a slice of night, lovingly cut and presented on a plate like an offering to the deities of the moon and stars. (Richard Allen)