Map of the Sky is a bouquet of ardent minimalism.
A map is a grid thrown over something to delineate territory. The phrase \"map of the sky\" might bring to mind an atlas of constellations but in this case perhaps it is more of overlaying a grid onto something vague, changing and unmappable like an overcast sky. A standard grid is a static thing but the grid I imagine here is more like a Mondrian painting where there are resonances based on th e context of proportion and position as it relates to the segment and the whole. But the mention of Mondrian also makes me want to mention Richard Tuttle.
Each track is a line made of components, which are also lines.
The phrases that make up the lines are in the realm of the almost familiar, melodies that approach the hummable but teeter off in small disruptions, brief gestures, fragments of glass one might find in the street, a shard of color with a bit of logo/brand design marking still visible or stream-rounded pebbles that might approach a kind of preciousness but seek to default to something coarse and uneven, faded. The patinas in the almost dronescape assemblages are not meant to invoke nostalgia and sentimentality, just a sort of poetics.
The \"songs\" or musical entities are like thumbnail sketches in charcoal or photographs on glass slightly eroded and smudgy. Objects that seem static yet at the same time imbued with an internal and indefinite motion. This \"album as map\" could be thought of as being more like a low-res scan of just a small portion of a map: the legend where the different lines for depicting roads, highways, rivers, railroads, counties, etc. are displayed.
The nine tracks of the album touch elemental aspects of (in no particular order) rock/blues, electronica, jazz, disco/pop/funk, movie music, lounge music, free jazz/bebop, tv music, classical music. Yet this is not really a clinical deconstruction of the problem of mapping music. I want it to be more romantic than a conceptual/mathematical rendering.
Out of 25 tracks, nine seemed to fit together and belong in a particular order. My usual inclination would be to add more tracks to an album for the sake of more. Part of the work, at least from a minimalist standpoint, involves resisting the tendency to \"add more\", to make things \"more interesting\" by adding more layers, voices, fx, changes, embellishments. I am seeking something rather sparse, modest, humble and perhaps even abject.
Instrumentation: guitar, thumb piano, toy keyboards, synthesizer, drum machine.
This is #9 in a series of solo studio projects.
Map of the Sky
R. P. Collier returns with another odd assortment of quirky soundscape tunes created with guitar, synthesizer, toy synth, thumb piano, and drum machine (but not all at once). As with his previous release under the same name, minimalism is the key word here: Of the nine songs presented here, only three feature more than one instrument at a time, and those instruments are generally playing simple (but bizarre) and repetitive mo tifs. Nothing is what it seems -- the drum machine spits out beats that don\'t sound like any kind of percussion you\'ve ever heard while psychotronic noise guitar blows over it in \"swivel & gimbal,\" the toy synth on \"nimbus\" sounds like a groaning and over driven drone machine, the sole guitar on \"cepheid variable\" sounds more like a demented synth loop... this is the music the Major was listening to out in the woods in TWIN PEAKS, where the owls are not what they seem. The tracks are all relatively short a nd grandly perplexing. For what essentially amounts to twisted exercises in minimalist noise and lo-fi instrument abuse, they\'re also oddly compelling. -RKF
RP Collier Map of the Sky (self-released)
Minimalist (to the extreme) fare played on thumb piano, synthesizer, toy synthesizer and guitar, with occasional drum machine accompaniment. The sound is then further processed. At this point, we\'re dealing mostly with ideas. And Collier has a lot of good ones.
Aiding & Abetting