Forest Walker – UV Sea (Constellation Tatsu, 2017)

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There exists a universe outside the realms of our perception or understanding; we actually live within it and go about our day-to-day lives without ever noticing its presence, but there are limits to our six senses: wavelengths of light we cannot see, frequencies of sound we cannot hear, things too small and faint to smell or touch; the world we perceive around us is shaped by our limitations and we hardly ever notice.

Each piece focuses on some aspect subtle, discrete aspect of absence, whether that be gaps in our vision or sense of the flow of time or even our understanding of the laws of nature. “Desert Lighthouse” sees us in with light and temperature firstly, its generous 13 minute runtime filled with crooning drone lines and shimmering, warbling synths that flux continuously, exuding a form of distant and impalpable warmth, a suggestion of heat made visible. It sounds floaty and dreamlike as we watch the world ripple with an otherwise invisible energy.

The remaining three pieces are rather more sober and reflective though as they plumb different, more elusive sensations. Sophomore “Amendment of Fundamental Axioms” is dark and eerie,¬†glittering like a shower of stars in the night sky. What are those points of light? Are they the souls of the dead, hanging in the heavens and watching over us? Or are they, as we know now, giant balls of gas fusing Hydrogen into Helium? It’s hard to envisage a time where this was not common knowledge, but here we find ourselves in an eerie past moment whose ethereal strings and impatient tappings seek to find hard answers to those mysterious and beautiful lights in the sky.

Indeed, stars are not the only thing possessing old light. “Saved Video of a Postcard” collapses into true minimalism as we descend miserably into a personal time long since passed, of tired old neurons slowly losing grip of their surety in memory. The only true rendition of past events that remains is the cool light of the computer screen, photographs and videos of fond moments now fading remade by countless pixels flickering and glowing in perfect synchronisation, driven by circuit boards and other such artificial, unfeeling hardware.

We conclude on the elusive feeling of the passage of time and the strange, subconscious sense of changes in the world about us in “Realtime Lapse”. Another longer piece, we’re immersed in lush drone passages that seem to both relish and serenade time’s movements, but also burn with a softly insistent oppression, an inevitability of future and the uncertainty it brings as it comes. It’s not such a bad thing though; where would life’s intrigues come from if all knew for certainty what comes next?

Perhaps we should be more appreciative of these limitations.