Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The crystal Ark

If there is a driving motive at the heart of Gavin Russom's latest project, The Crystal Ark, it is to create music that communicates and compels physicality and movement. A listen to the project's first single, aptly named "The City Never Sleeps," reveals a track as tireless as the title suggests, and Russom as a visionary who crafts invocations to move. With his second release under the Crystal Ark moniker, Russom is just as focused on eliciting movement, but deftly avoids repeating himself. Unlike its hypnotic predecessor, which slow burned and subtly seduced listeners to physically respond, "The Tangible Presence of the Miraculous" is explicit in its urgings – a composition of nakedly energetic and urgent inducements to dance.

Rhythm sits at the forefront of the track from the very outset: Polyrhythmic drumming forms the centerpiece for half-exhaled, half-sung male and female vocals and an electronic buzz that rises and falls in both volume and time. From there, the song shifts through moods, but never shakes its focus on percussion, which morphs from organic to electronic – twisting, changing, evolving and taking various shapes over the track's 14 minute runtime. Along the way, vocals in Spanish and English – provided by frequent Crystal Ark collaborator Viva Ruiz – take and relinquish control of a soundtrack that progressively swells and, ultimately, diminishes in layers of synths. By song's end, we're left only with a pulsing drone and persistent electro-percussion.

"The Tangible Presence of the Miraculous" also features a guest vocal appearance from Lizzy Yoder, formerly of Fischerspooner, and live percussion by Alberto Lopez. In addition to The Crystal Ark, Russom has released material as Black Meteoric Star and in collaboration with Delia Gonzalez. Most recently he has contributed to LCD Soundsystem both in the studio and as part of the live band.

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