On “Living Torch”, the American composes a dense electronics, which seeks the long time by deploying very touching feelings.
Active for several years, but very visible on the experimental scene for three or four years, the American Kali Malone, long established in Sweden and now resident in France, has developed an aesthetic borrowing from some figures of classical minimalism, while being largely bathed in something very rock, often bordering, in its distortions and reverberations, genres like shoegaze.
Clearly, his gesture evokes several fields, several possible ones. There was, in his album The Sacrificial Code (a hit on the scale of experimental music), reminiscences of Éliane Radigue and Spacemen 3, of La Monte Young and Nico. On this previous disc, the American deployed long pieces only played on organs, instruments that she particularly cherishes.
Feelings and textures that paint something very sensitive
His new album differs in its production: conceived and recorded during a Parisian residency in the studios of the GRM (the research group affiliated with INA and France Musique), it dates from the months preceding the pandemic and was completed in 2021. Kali Malone then broadcast it during a concert in one of the large amphitheaters of the Maison de la Radio et de la Musique in front of a full house. In doing so, it took up a tradition of concrete music consisting in making the work known by first broadcasting it to an audience. The release on disc allows you to immerse yourself more fully in the work, composed in two movements.
Living Torch begins with sounds reminiscent of the previous LP: a right away, no doubt, to the great ruminations on the organ. But with a speed that differs quickly: here, time is apprehended differently, by dispensing with slowness to seek something else. From the start, a form of devotion appears, almost sacred, but also very reassured. A form of peace?
Little by little, his organ sounds are invaded by slow electronic shifts
In the young composer, calm, however, always conceals mixed feelings. Little by little, his organ sounds are invaded by slow electronic shifts, but also by what resembles keyboard strokes, like intermissions insinuating themselves into the matter of space and moving away the rest.
The volume itself rises high, and then constitutes an entire universe in the hearing, in which Malone’s strength is essential: that of managing to tie together sounds which are feelings and textures which, by their dynamics and the tension between them, paint something very sensitive, even romantic – and which, basically, corresponds to this sentence that Antoine said to Cleopatra in Cleopatra by Joseph Mankiewicz: “You are like a noise in my heart.” That’s what’s happening here: music that, instead of being frozen in experimentation, begins to haunt all your feelings.
Living Torch (GRM Portraits/Shelter Press). Released since June 24.