Beside Myself, the second full-length album by Canadian sound artist crys cole, is a peculiar beast. Its two tracks, both clocking in around twenty minutes, feature immersive soundworlds that are constantly transforming. The Nonsuch begins with the sound of cole writing with a pencil. The utensil isn’t presented as an instrument capable of surprising musical qualities, à la Gerhard Rühm’s Pencil Music (2002). Instead, cole presents this familiar noise as is, and juxtaposes it with oscillating tones and ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) mutterings to create unexpected, cryptic tension. A field recording of an open area soon arrives to provide release, but such repose is short-lived: the space soon becomes inundated with acousmatic sounds and processed vocal babbling to create a queasy atmosphere. In Praise of Blandness (Chapter IX) changes in shape and structure too, but more subtly. The composition finds cole reciting text from philosopher François Julien regarding the aesthetic principles of blandness in relation to Taoism. Her voice is clear, every word discernible. Her speech is first buoyed by the sound of organs, which are eventually overtaken by their resonant droning. As everything homogenizes, the innate sonic qualities of her speech and the instruments become clear, and the music fills out an excerpt from the text she reads: “Blandness creates distance, diminishes the affective capacity, strips down our impressions to what is essential.”
That’s what Beside Myself does best: cole makes the listener cognizant of every individual sound in the different contexts they’re presented in.

Check out crys cole's recordings here.