Radical is not a word you’ve read a great deal on this blog. The term has been so often applied – and misapplied – to music that it’s been rendered virtually meaningless.
But if there is a music genre that can still fairly be described with the r-word, it is minimalism. Put another way, the only thing genuinely radical in music today is the absence of music. Everything else has been so overdone, overhyped and overcriticized that the only big idea left is the absence of cliché.
Which is exactly why minimalist music has such great potential. To be clear, it has its own clichés. But when it’s executed well, it can be – well – pretty rad.
Finding My Own Way Back Home is a fiercely original work. Filipe Cruz, who records solo electronic music under the name ps, has been featured in this space before. His 12th album is even more impressive than number 11.
Where Volatile leaned heavily on spoken word sound, it is white noise that dominates the new release. This isn’t your standard electronic noise though, Cruz has built 10 pieces that feature the kind of genuine white noise that dissolves into whatever space you’re occupying.
Whether you’re feeding the music through ear buds on the subway or noise-cancelling headphones in your basement, you’ll hear things that you will be unable to place.
This has two effects. First, it pulls the music’s layers apart. You will find yourself concentrating on elements low in the mix as you begin to lose focus on the more prominent noise. Second, the music fuses with your surroundings to produce an immersive experience.
Check out “Holding On” for the best example of this experience. It’s a remarkable piece on one of this year’s most inventive recordings.