What's the furthest thing from noise? Silence, of course, especially the chill, ultimate stillness of the cosmos, it's endless walls running down dreams and stories until they're nothing. Eric San also used to make noise, mainly by taking pieces of black plastic and making them performers, shifting their purpose by making their structure liquid, atomised.
So after roughly twenty years of turntablism, how you wandered could the Montreal scratcher paint himself into a new backdrop. The answer ? By inversion, of course. Named after an art festival with a self-descriptive purpose, San found himself providing melodic inspiration to the gathered illustrators in the form he says of "records I enjoy drawing to, often music that was too slow or quiet to play in a dance floor situation", going on to explain "I started incorporating other instruments into the mix to create live ambient pieces during the night. A lot of these experiments would become templates for this recording."
When placed in its rightful context Music To Draw To is not on that basis then not so much of a departure as it might first appear. San's choice of collaborator is given his purpose a little less obvious in Icelandic singer Emiliana Torrini, a flaxen-voiced bard who released one of last decade's most mildly disregarded hidden treasures in 2008's Me And Armini.
Loosely themed around the separation of a couple in the advent of one's slingshot trip to Mars, the duo quite consciously render up the imaginary feelings of isolation and longing such a breaking would doubtless mean. Through episodic passages that are little more than faltering lights in the night sky to full blown songs with Torrini as their stellar muse, the expressions are tender, lost and vulnerable, from the woozy, Boards Of Canada-esque tones of Nightfall to the singer's tremulous, whispering fragility on Fallaway, the star crossed lovers are given shape and character far beyond the 2D strokes of an erstwhile artist in situ.
Shorn of the trivialities of pop, Torrini is free to add rougher inflexion to a tableau that veers from ambient drones to anthracite post-rock: The Darkest Day locates her on the uncharted side of some celestial body, frozen and haunted, whilst the ethereal Collapser arcs warmly, full of angelic harmonies and emotions dotted with the sparse expositions of loss and traumatic wisdom. With San directing all traffic, the ghostly combinations veer into different levels of intricacy across an eerily stark Transmission series which punctuate each step forward, whilst the fragmentary Apoapsis is barely there, a spectral requiem in.
It's obvious that Music To Draw To is by its own beatless admission a series of installations crafted with a level of spirituality; at its apex - the glitchily broken electronic pop of Satellite - the symbiosis between Torrini's humanity and the void which surrounds her is both tenuous and heart warming. When does noise become the furthest thing from itself? When it's coming from somewhere furthest from where any other noise is being made. Eric San used to break and re-fix his music, now he streams it from somewhere only he can get back from, to fascinating result.
Listen to Collapser:
Official Site -