LINE_075 | CD + Digital | limited edition of 400 | February 2016
Like a sluggish mummification process, the light and creamy textures of Singulum are gently wrapped around the body, embalming the slowly developing ambient music. On Singulum, Montreal sound artist France Jobin gently nudges her music forward, and it’s so hushed it’s hardly there at all; it’s an incredibly subtle approach.
Inspired by quantum physics, Jobin uses a series of quiet field recordings that are in turn manipulated, processed and lightly looped, the latter enjoying a healthy, liberal amount of space and freedom (an open loop, if there is such a thing), her modular synthesizers rearranging and transforming the music beyond all recognition. Science, sound and music are inextricably linked, so close as to resemble sons and daughters. They are elegant, despite the stuttering glitches that occasionally pass by. Reshaping both the timbre and the tonal quality of the original recording results in an entirely new entity being created.
Shapes inside the music are gently rearranged, changing beyond recognition but never entering their final state of being. As Jobin says, ‘Singulum represents an unobtainable goal, the process of decay while conserving a continuation of information’. Slowly shifting, and almost meditative in its breathing, the music is a secret ocean of calm. As soon as the pale, soft tonal intakes are taken, the exhalation of the music is the only thing that can follow. The non-intrusive sound of a bass frequency passes through, feeling heavy and yet somehow light, stuck in its black ice, and the lighter tones suddenly disperse, vanishing without a trace.
Singulum’s music is filled with a special kind of light. Translucent notes ghost around the music. And like a good friend, a lower bass accompanies the transparent ambient lines as they continue their journey. If you wanted to be technical, I guess you could call it microscopic ambient minimalism. To an extent, you need to concentrate to pick everything up; the ambient music flows easily and, on the surface at least, it holds a good deal of simplicity. But belying that simplicity is an all-consuming intelligence. After all, this is not an easy thing to produce – far from it. It’s easy to access and goes down nicely, but you can go deeper and deeper, too. In that sense, the listener can make it a challenging listen if he / she chooses to, and it’s a pleasurable record no matter how you decide to approach it. Everything falls into place at just the right time, and that’s not a coincidence. It may have been inspired by and rooted in science, but the slightly metallic drones are mystical, too. Like the pyramidal structures that lie inside Area 51, surrounded by nothing but a clear lake and the arid Nevada desert, they have a mask of the unknown hovering around them. Trance-like, the music progresses slowly. A soft hiss of static kisses the music as it travels along, keeping it steady. As the record draws to a close, a soft, glowing chord pulses at regular intervals. This being a LINE release, a pair of headphones is not only recommended but essential.