0comeups – Creek Don’t Rise Review

Creek Don’t Rise, the most recent offering from London-based producer 0comeups, is comprised of four cryptically titled MIDI studies– chimeric pieces that achieve, through stumbling repetition, a weirdly meditative quality.To a certain extent, the sound palette used on this EP echoes the fascination with and disassembly of stock MIDI sounds and virtual instrumentation that proliferated in the 2010s (Oneohtrix Point Never, Elysia Crampton, James Ferraro, etc.). Artists began using these sounds in unexpected ways – countering their rigid brightness with an expressive and unpredictable approach. The challenge seemed to be, “How much can we wring out of a single voice?”. For 0comeups, the approach is both tempered and expanded. Although each track is composed of more or less a single melodic motif, this loop is threaded through a legion of presets and tonal variations. Paying close attention to this music – following as it threatens to come undone – is part of what makes it a fascinating listen. As the title implies, listening to this album feels a bit like observing a rushing stream, an object defined by motion, but confined in strict spatial and operational parameters.In addition to the music’s animate, flowing quality, Creek Don’t Rise has an environmental aspect that could be traced to the creator’s experience in the gaming industry where he focused on “the implementation and processing of real-time sounds, ambiences and music within an audio engine.” Similarly, these musical objects, although plainly inorganic and artificial, have an uncanny sensitivity and depth. Throughout the EP, there is a feeling that you could reach out and interact with these sounds.In this way, Creek Don’t Rise works and feels more like a document of a particular interactive environment as much as it does a collection of musical compositions. It’s as if the environmental music of the ‘80s and ‘90s was adapted to suit the rhythms of the web and the tonal world of videogame sound design. It’s an unusual synthesis, one that feels deeply unconventional and startlingly familiar at the same time.

 

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