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Nicholas Szczepanik – Not Knowing (2014)
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Nicholas Szczepanik – Not Knowing (2014)

18-04-2014, 15:23

Nicholas Szczepanik – Not Knowing (2014)

Artist: Nicholas Szczepanik
Title Of Album: Not Knowing
Year Of Release: 2014
Label: Desire Path Recordings
Genre: Experimental, Electronic
Quality: mp3
Bitrate: 320 kbps
Total Time: 52:36
Total Size: 120 mb


1. Nicholas Szczepanik - Not Knowing (52:36)

Not Knowing may be dedicated to Éliane Radigue, the French composer responsible for the three-hour séance Trilogie de la Mort, yet there’s another less obvious name that’s equally applicable to Nicholas Szczepanik’s latest departure into enigmatic, disembodied composition.
This is Russian folklorist Vladimir Propp, whose Morphology of the Folktale sought to reduce the diversity of Slavic mythology to a few irrevocably recurring “functions,” genera of actions/events structured in the same immutable sequence.
The Chicago-based Szczepanik may have never read Propp’s seminal work, but it seems that, wittingly or not, he’s trying to go one better, seemingly distilling an entire composition — and by extension music itself — to a single unchanging alternation of two binary oppositions. These are tension and release, ascent and descent, irresolution and resolution, deprivation and acquisition, sound and silence, on and off, or whatever two words could be used as the name of the 1 and the 0 that reproduce itself in various transmundane guises over the 52 minutes of his debut for Desire Path. And even though this increasingly celestial running time hints toward some imminent epiphany or elevation, in the end its promise is quashed by an unbreakable digital logic.

Yet an initial audit of Not Knowing might unfold as some quasi-spiritual homage to processes of evolution, to the evolution of consciousness or complexity from primordial beginnings, or even to an evolution in the direction of theological revelation. The first five minutes are defined solely by a low-pitched electronic pulse, an oscillating throb that gradually increases in volume until being joined by a fine, sharp-edged hum as it continues its appearing-disappearing act underneath. This hum inflects the undertow with an embryonic sense of awakening, although its precise teleology remains indistinct and elusive (as implied by the album’s title), ramifying the vaguely ominous closing and opening of its downstairs neighbor. Fortunately, the neighbor’s inarticulate threat is eventually submerged after the 13-minute mark by the awakening of a rich orchestral phrase, a cycle of ethereal strings that climb in register before dissolving into their filmy substrate. Once again, their amplifying breaths insinuate a moment of deliverance or emancipation, yet the progression that succeeds them tempers its sublime roll of chords with a tone of unreality and immateriality, thereby lacing doubt into the whole semi-divine cavalcade.

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