Life’s little pleasures include opening the blinds in the morning, watching the snow fall, and seeing sunlight glittering off the dew. Sunhaus‘s debut album sounds like all these and more, and becomes yet another little pleasure. Written by an Australian composer living in Thailand, released on an American label, this tape has traveled the world like the wandering sun.
The tracks can be divided into two main categories: the sparkling glitch pieces and the flowing ambient works. Each hearkens back to some of the gorgeous glitch of the 90s, while bearing a modern tone. As a good part of the music is generative, it also conjures comparison to the light installations whose patterns begin to unfurl when touched by the rays of the sun. The ear begins to dvine a melody, only to hear it disappear down a rabbit hole, much like the tubes on the cover. In like fashion, unexpected harmonies are produced when the patterns line up just right.
Marcus Skinner’s handbuilt synthesizers make lovely sounds on their own, but the composer dots them with piano and field recordings, blurring the line between organic and inorganic, processed and plain. The art for the digital copy (pictured right) is different than that of the tape: an image either hyper-magnified or mid-dissolution, reminiscent of the defragmentation of a vintage PC. No matter one’s level of apophenia, it’s difficult to find a pattern in the data. Instead, the viewer ~ like the listener ~ is left with an impression of texture and tone.
“Pleng” bursts out the gate, far louder than expected, offering a hint of tempo through thin electronic beats; a similar climate is visited in “Glam,” which suggests the (pre-breakup) roster of raster-noton and the early work of Dntel. The ambient washes of “Peace Dust” recede to reveal the glint of bell tones. Static makes a friendly visit to “Neess,” sounding much better as music than as intrusion. But with music so impressionistic, it’s less about tracks than tone. Sunhaus does indeed sound like a sun house, or a crystal pendant twirling in the window in mid-afternoon, casting its colors around the room as a happy cat chases the shards. (Richard Allen)