Ideas Of Noise






Ideas Of Noise is Fescal’s aka David Suyeong’s latest four-track EP, released on the Hong Kong-based Lona Records in June 2013 and available in a limited edition of 50 copies at the label’s website. A classic EP by the look of things, the English-bred South Korean Fescal makes sure to gather material on here that is definitely compatible to the texture base, stringency and flow of all involved tracks, but by no means refers back to the title of the EP itself. While I thematize this strange tendency in greater detail later on, let me assure you that the EP is eminently good-spirited and instantly catchy; one would not possibly expect that by the look of things. There is no overarching topic or story baked into the theme, Fescal purposely belittles the coherence of his work by leaving its boundaries open to scrutiny. However, these tracks altogether are no mere Ideas as the title so portentously implies. They are fully fleshed out Drone compositions loaded with multitudinous layers and noisier – but not alkaline or acidic – augmentations. If I were to find a theme that unites them all, it would be the feeling of joy and contentment. It is indeed a very enchanting and delightful release, with only one track covering the sane joy behind a cloudier facade. The pieces are interestingly enough non-progressive: once all layers are introduced and firmly in place, incidentally a phenomenon that happens immediately and always rather quickly, this status quo is maintained for the remaining runtime of the track. But enough of these technicalities, read more about the actual textures and surfaces below.


The curiously titled By Nature To Forage activates all the triggers that are encapsulated by these nouns. This happens solely via the unfolding of the cleverly arranged layers which is probably the biggest compliment a Drone-centric composition can receive. This is indeed a proper genre track, Fescal aurally paints the gateway by means of a slow fade-in phase which already shimmers and shines in verdured colors. The actual trick comprises of the stretched and prolonged bells and whistles. These chimes distantly remind of alpine cowbells and bucolic valleys. The heterodyned synth-oid coils gyrate gaseously over the erbaceous soils in the shape of looped lower frequency protuberances. This base frame is then ameliorated by a glistening fixity that can best be described as a glitzscape. As problematic this coinage may be, I use it in order to stress the pristine, purified roundelay of the warbled prongs and clinging polar particles. The fissured structure allows interstitial micro niches through which the iridescent afterglow of the coruscating star dust glitters, followed by the intertwinement with the surrounding static noise mountains and the eventual calcination of the luminosity. The high mark of this peacefully glitchy Drone chain is around the mark of five and a half minutes where all ingredients, even the potentially contravened ones, coalesce into a fluxion of bliss. That the rural synth aorta runs through the picturesque panorama as a golden thread is the important link to the track title. A glowing, eminently insouciant audio aphorism.


In stark contrast to By Nature To Forage, the complexion of the aquatically cavernous Ridgewalkers resides in the bluer spectrum. It appears much more streamlined and sylphlike. David Suyeong softens and silkens the higher frequencies and moulds them into a wondrously moist mélange of diffuse half-tones and arcane nullspaces. A field recording of pouring rain serves as the backdrop for this cloudy cavity. The plasticity only grows after approximately two minutes when the South Korean artist drops a firework of crackling claves whose wooden vividness augments the sense of wideness due to the reverberated state these devices are in. Devoured and engulfed in the mauve-azure capsules of independence and benignancy, the title-related ridge walk is not so much of the aesthetic or conceptual kind since every element becomes smoothly enmeshed with each other; it is more of a metaphorical and potentially histrionic allure which implies the comparable coldness in this ethereal yet aeriform-lofty whorl that reigns like a distant maelstrom below the position of the listening subject. Because of this presumption, the droning helixes do not suggest a complete submergence, for even though they are densely layered and burly, they never swallow the bystander or titular ridge walker, nor do they hike him or her down to the epicenter. Sure: I am one of those reviewers who always try to come up with esoteric explanations, I agree, but I really feel that the whole incident in this tramontane antrum is figuratively watched from a distance.


The following title is so self-explanatory that every further description or semi-erudite explication would indeed spoil its delightfully mellow physiognomy, but I do indeed feel the need to at least thematize the pressure gradient of this wonderful gem, the one which is is so descriptively named: Snorkel Around The Unspoiled Coral Reefs. The paradisal periphery is set, the topos is tightly in place, and nostalgia comes in paroxysms. What follows is exactly the situation I wanted to avoid, namely a somewhat deeper analysis of its languorous simultaneity of highly varied textures and patterns. This dreamscape is just too luring. Right from the get-go, heavy vinyl cracks and pops are in place, their aftereffects and sustain phases designedly hollowed out from within so that they interpolate the effect of being at a vaulted site. The signature element of this arrangement of over seven minutes is undoubtedly the seemingly endless amount of intermixed nostalgia layering techniques. Washed out organ spirals, infinitesimal hints of wonky cacophonies as well as the effect of a hackneyed reel – despite the vinyl crackles – induce an enormously retrogressive and poeticized vision of the well-known halcyon days of yore. And as it is common with the past, it is usually better than the present. A clear nod to Boards of Canada and their thick layers of audio copses, turquoise emeralds and fir-green groves, the ensuing susurration enchants with its elasticized streams, riverbeds and cascading colors. It may neither be the most flummoxing realization nor an entirely new formula, but the blazing ambience and vivacious color fest with a hint of hatched sepia shades is elevating. The short Lunar Walleye then closes the EP and clocks in shy of 100 seconds. It is almost an addendum to the coral epitome, but much more aquiver with joy. The hazy white noise placenta remains, as do the various crackles, but the appearance of the embroidered synth-like strata seems much more moon-lit and luminescent. Glistening in ashen timbres of yellow, the scintillating structure distantly resembles a droning music box and is of an almost fairy tale-like compatibility. This closer is anything more as an optional appendix, but thankfully covers the same elating mood range that graces most grounds of this EP.


There’s no reason for denial: whatever led Fescal to the title of his EP, Ideas Of Noise is almost perniciously worded in the intrinsically given circumstances. Maybe my definition of noise continues to differ and evolve the more Ambient works I encounter which would explain a lot of other things in hindsight; getting used to something, auto-suggestive training and all these concepts come to mind. Here, however, I am very sure that the noise level is kept to an absolute minimum, or to be more precise: noise is not used to distract or sidetrack, let alone shock the listener, but somehow becomes subordinate to the much more euphonious layers that waft and twirl adjacently. The tone sequences and tonalities of the loops themselves are the very reason that the harshness of noise is less antagonistic than beneficial. Ideas Of Noise is ebullient and bursts at the seams because of the memories and extraordinarily amicable embracements. All ornaments and embellishments – chimes, bells, static noise fragments, vinyl pops – are compatible with the respective nucleus. Each of the four tracks evokes a favorable status which should be cherished and maintained. Why indeed, this is exactly the cusp where the second alloy of David Suyeong’s EP comes into play: since the status quo is maintained, one feels caught in a Moebius strip akin to Low Entropy Island's July EP (2013), but this stabilized yet varied capsule supercharged with wonderfully softened loops is at the same time much more of an elysium than a pandemonium. Ideas Of Noise is based on the premise (or promise?) that either the noise levels have decreased in our post-millennial world, at least within the wider boundaries of the Ambient genre, or that the listener-related acceptance factor has grown. It is not my mission to point out the most truthful of all possible explanations, but simply want to stress that the arrangements and compositions are entirely warm, sun-draped, green or foggy in a friendly way. Due to the given title, you are going to either be disappointed or pleasantly surprised. Fans of melodious loop-based Ambient tracks of the Drone subgenre with a pinch of nostalgia and melancholia ought to rejoice.



Further listening:

Listen to two tracks on SoundCloud: Snorkel Around The Unspoiled Coral Reefs and Lunar Walleye.



Ambient Review 245: Fescal – Ideas Of Noise (2013). Originally published on Jul. 31, 2013 at AmbientExotica.com.