Ben Tweel, the sole member of Build Buildings, has sound-color synesthesia; that is, his neurological pathways cross, resulting in an involuntary and intrinsic association of sound with hue. Unlike most medical conditions, this is a good thing. Ceiling Lights from Street explores a specific range of musical reds, purples, and pinks; thus, the album cover is a crib sheet for what lies within. Tweel also has an innate sense of tonal manipulation, composition, and musical vision; these, too, are good things. Thus, in his latest New York-based Build Buildings project, one is blessed with a nearly categorical aesthetic experience, which encompasses all forms of artistic expression and borders on the tactile. To encounter his work is to witness a master artist experiment with textures typically relegated to the uni-sensory; only, here, sensory elements fold in upon each other, and work hand in hand.
A native of Columbus, Ohio, Tweel formed Build Buildings in 2001 after moving to New York City from Durham, North Carolina. His sound is a unique confluence of ambient space-and-drone-based composers such as William Basinski (see: The Disintegration Loops) and Fennesz, with loosely percussive-centric electronic artists like Matmos, Opiate and Boards of Canada. And although he never permanently settles down in either camp, he certainly revisits these thematic models frequently, all the while charting his own small territory.
Musically, his latest explores the limits of guitar melody, which, though frequently hidden, buried, and stretched beyond recognition, is featured prominently throughout the album. Though it may be apparent on such tracks as “Elevators, Escalators” and “Skatal,” each song represents a separate tweaking of guitar-originated sound. This, combined with musique concrète percussive elements – such as the opening of an envelope (“Ilicoastal”), the gentle click of a button on a desk fan (“Elevators, Escalators”), or the progress of wind across a moving automobile (“A Solar Panel”) — creates a sound that is wholly organic, yet significantly polished. As a result, Ceiling Lights from Street feels naturally yet carefully developed; it is both calculated and insouciant, manipulated and free.
The Milk Factory: \"It is rare that unsigned artists achieve such level of perfection....quite simply, a quietly magnificent record. 4.7/5\"
Lost at Sea: \"worthy of unchecked praise.... criminally overlooked music.\"
Diskant: \"beautiful.... a gorgeous record that matches any minimal electronica that will see the light of day this year.\"
Cyclic Defrost: \"subtle, intimate... consistently appealing.\"
Textura: \"In a strange way, Tweel\'s fresh music feels like music perfectly designed for the early morning as its understated yet nonetheless bright uplift feels suggestive of a new day\'s promise.\"
Properly Chilled: \"perfect for just drifting and watching the world go by\"
Urban Climber: \"emphasize[s] the complex intermingling of nature and technology, creating a meticulously scattered and minutely textured soundscape that fills a room or pair of headphones like a forest of mechanical insects... a perfect score for our modern times.\"