microphones in the trees: February 2017

Thursday, February 16, 2017

eva geist ~ äquator system

«Dedicated to dreams, lost paradises, and new horizons of human belonging, Äquator System transcends a musical journey from a hidden center to an endless distance, reminding us that we are made of galaxies.» ~ eva geist

Exploring the vastness of modern retromania, I often ask myself one question – what if there is actually no such thing as "past" in music and maybe even no such thing as "music development"? Evolution of music usually means the technical side of its creation, hence almost all changes are simply consequences of new gear's features or simple invention of new terms for already existing things - as it was with Brian Eno "inventing" the ambient music. Of course, music history had some major shifts, but talking about them we can't avoid discussion of the gear (and by gear I mean any instrument) and methods to work with it, be it physical or digital, composition or performance, etc. Such things say more about form of music, but much less about it's essence. Maybe nostalgia always was a big part of this "essence", tuning the aural visions through personal experience. Some kind of universal feeling that connects our minds to the idea of some "golden era" in time and space coordinates. This can be expressed in many ways, but the very idea of creation of some sound continuum, which comforts its creator (and likely the audience) remains fundamental for music evolution.

Reading the liner notes for Elestial Sound tape release of this album brings the same perspective on the so-called "retro-ambient" scene. As Steve Roach recently said in the interview for Bandcamp, it never was about styles or fashion, it's all about space which music creates for the listener and the author himself, as reflection of his personal story line. I don't really know was the "Äquator System" taken from childhood memories about educational films and TV show soundtracks or not – what really matters is the timeline it contains inside itself. It's a story, enigmatic one. It brings so many colorful pictures, visions and narratives not necessarily associated with past, though it sounds really "retro". Actually, all differences between modern styles of music are based on the timbre, on the particular sound, and each timbre, especially when it comes to electronics, is already has its place on styles map. But the essence is avoided, it seems that we forget to look inside the sounds, to see beyond the surface. Because when we do it, whole universe unfolds before our inner gaze and it may be hard to navigate inside it, since we need to lose yourself to some degree, to step out of  our customary coordinate system. Anchors of style definitions or even mere labeling are good when (and where) they needed, but don't forget about sails! "Äquator System" is a playfully created soundworld, full of mesmerizing beauty, fun moments and dramatic shifts – so let yourself explore, it will be a great adventure.