• Christopher Bissonnette
  • Kranky
  • 2005-10-03

These are seven passages of sound based on piano and orchestral material using the alchemy of samples to create extended textural edits far removed from their original source. This is pure electronica, untainted by the savageries of hip hop, drum and bass, jazz or the thoughts of soundtracks/adverts that underpin much electronic music.

Christopher Bissonnette is part of the “Thinkbox” media collective (which sounds like a Chris Morris satirical construct) and Periphery was developed through their compilations and Bissonnette’s solo performances within the group at various festivals, art galleries and nightclubs.

Womb-like swells and extended tones with scattered fragments of beats

Although something of a cliche to use the word, Periphery does have some “glacial” moments; the slow, other-worldly grace of “Comfortable Expectations” being a case in point. But more frequently amongst the album’s duration is a sense of the organic. Womb-like swells and extended tones with scattered fragments of beats or shards of electronic noise permeating through most passages. It seems at times to mirror the sounds of life; random, sporadic and with no structure individually but absorbed together there is a kind of formless beauty.

This is released through Kranky, the Canadian home of similar sound manipulators Keith Fullerton Whitman and Greg Davis (who both base their compositions around acoustic/electric guitars rather than piano). However, Periphery has as much in common with Godspeed You! Black Emperors’ ambient passages (another formerly of the Kranky family) – particularly standout track “Travelling Light” and its faint sense of menace.

a deep, immersive experience

Of course, this album might be just pretentious nonsense (as could be so for this resultant review – using language to give meaning to music that doesn’t go anywhere and only rarely threatens to break out into melody or structure). A cursory listen might support this idea. But repeated listens with or without additional stimuli and this record becomes a deep, immersive experience. You may wish to search for your own meanings.

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