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Meredith Bates — Tesseract
(Bandcamp Phonometrograph no#, 2023, 2CD / DL)

by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-08-04

Tesseract Cover art

Bates is a violinist from Vancouver BC, but the mysteries this solo album holds are almost anything other than what might be expected, unless of course one is familiar with Bates’ earlier album, If Not Now, which could well serve as an entry point to this, her second album. While one can hear a kaleidoscopic array of processed violin sounds, found sound fragments, electronics, and electroacoustic mysterium all at work at once, the overall result is more of an ambient immersive experience than what one might expect from a compositional perspective, with cathartic textures and odd sonic structures intertwining with the fabric of this unusual six-part sound collage that can be soothing one moment and frightening the next. While the shimmering cells and unusual colors bring forth a sense of calm and immersion. The album is something of an endurance test as well — six long tracks spread out across two discs, well over two hours of sound sculptures and strange electronic sounds mixed with acoustic instrumentation in the form of violin with extended techniques. The patient listener will be rewarded, however slowly by repeated spins of this set, not necessarily by familiarity with the details but by a recognition of the overall purpose of such a chaotic journey, and all of the layers and dimensions therewithin. Occasionally, out of the chaos comes something pure and revelatory, a moment of shimmering beauty. Bates’ masterful manipulation of sounds across time results in something wholly hypnotic and wonderfully introspective. A listener may find themselves becoming sleepy, and that’s okay, go with it — after all, we are talking about two-plus hours of mystical sonic sorcery that can take nearly any form; go wherever it takes you, lie back and enjoy it.

Filed under: New releases, 2023 releases

Related artist(s): Meredith Bates

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