With her second release, Montreal-based composer Freida Abtan expands her very personalized idiom of abstract electronica. While she has assimilated the clarity of sound processing and the bold gestures of the Montreal acousmatic scene, her music is haunted by a resonant gothic murkiness that envelops the listener. This base of metallic reverberations is complemented at points with flecks of thin, glitchy texture, odd, looping semi-grooves, and cicada-like patinas of high drone.
In spite of an impression of superficial crispness, her music feels, at many points, intangible and indistinct. Her obscure soundworld bewilders the listener with an aural experience that is at once naturally derived and somehow completely synthetic, smearing and skewing perceptual boundaries.
Abtan frequently employs her own vocals as a sound source, to striking effect. Like the other recorded and processed sounds, her voice is frequently rendered unintelligible. This not only furnishes the listener with a certain unsettling intimacy, but also gives a vague song-like flavour to her work. This is especially evident toward the end of the album where the final piece verges on an actual bona fide song.
Abtan has developed a very unique and eclectic take on electroacoustics plucking techniques, variously from acousmatic, so-called intelligent dance music, and 1980s industrial abstraction (Nurse With Wound—with whom she occasionally collaborates—and zoviet*france). This new release shows her deepening this singular sensibility.