Drift by Rosalind Hall


Rosalind Hall | Drift
Cassauna/IMPREC (CS/DL)

Australian musician and composer Rosalind Hall‘s newest tape is called Drift (mastered by Alan F Jones/Laminal Audio) including three microtonal compositions of sax reverberations, synths and field recordings.  On Burden (part of the Avant Whatever festival in Melbourne, 2016) she offers a submerged atmosphere. It is a gray space, foggy and dense, with the occasional crawling synth and other mutation. While this is suspenseful and empyrean, in actuality these are sounds taken from in-situ recordings: wire fences in Australia, fireworks in Taiwan and cicadas in Japan. Hall has gracefully transformed these occurrences by slowing and filtering their former selves.


The album’s title makes sense in short order as this work does, in fact, Drift in chilly ways that levitate then mesmerize. The drone reverb is empowered to a greater extent once a droopy elapsing percussion finds its way into the background, and a smattering of slippery resonances are slowly neutralized. The title track plays with these half-tones even moreso with the prepared acoustic spring reverb on the sax, which sounds more like a stringed instrument than its brassy self. Hall goes down, real low, to develop distortions that vibrate with an effect that is like shoegaze in slow-mo. Her echoes rumble and rise as they engage the listener, never quite becoming meditative or too sleepy in the approach.

On the flipside is Descension a composition which runs a bit over twenty minutes (or the whole side). Here the composer continues with some of the sculpted sax sounds heard prior, but this emulates the theme of ‘drift’ here better than the other two pieces. In the way in which this pulses the result is more of a warming glow than a downward spiral. Though the deeper you listen the more directionless this may seem, almost a bit of a mirage in terms of the way it takes over space, yet has this golden hazy glaze oozing from its seams. She describes it as “Descension captures a sense of revolving sound and space, much like the feeling of helicopters circling above or the way un-localized sound disperses in underground concrete spaces” and I would concur except add that it will instantly command your psychic attention in the way it laps to and fro. 

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