The Silverman

Requiem Settings

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Drawing on inspirations from the passing of his father to the pursuit of a Native American tribe over hundreds of miles in the 19th Century, Requiem Settings is a melancholic, mesmerizing series of pieces that should readily interest anyone taken with the work of Main or Lull. Phil Knight's, aka Silverman, detailed explanation of the origin of the songs is unfortunately not included directly with the liner notes, but they're not needed to enjoy this excellent release in its own right. With a central motif coming from a bell-like sound that loops and repeats at points throughout in different ways, Requiem Settings contains more immediate structure than some of Knight's other solo work but still captures a sense of floating drone atmospherics tinged with darker sonic undercurrents. With the lengthy opening part quite literally setting the tone, as the core sound wafts again and again through the mix as, slowly but surely, train horn samples sound in the distance, evoking vast landscapes at once lively and empty, all Knight needs to do from there is continue the magical sense of alien beauty created. This he does faultlessly, drawing in a variety of instruments and sounds -- from curiously distorted, just beyond comprehensible vocal samples on the second part to the inclusion of dulcimer and feet moving through snow elsewhere -- while still retaining the overall flow of focused but dreamlike progression. Knight's ear for differing volume levels -- setting one core sample low and then bringing it up with deliberate non-haste is a key part of many of the songs. The snow/dulcimer combination on the third part is especially affecting, an 11-minute study in unexpected contrasts and silences, the notes of the dulcimer sometimes only barely able to be sensed amid the arrhythmic crunches.

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