Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chris Abrahams - Play Scar

Chris Abrahams
Play Scar
(2010, Room40)
RIYL = Lawrence English, Keith Fullerton Whitman, The Necks

In addition to aural maturity, there is a rich religiosity brewing throughout Play Scar. Not, though, that new wave religiousness so often caught up in these new experimentations (the immature ones), but a thick, meaningful presences, almost Christian – not to categorize Abrahams – in the way it sets itself pleasantly in the pews, reassuring you while enabling the wholesale destruction of everything outside your periphery. I, personally, subscribe to a form of Christianity myself, perhaps an odd one; one that has been mythologized (quite wonderfully) by the penchant its members have for growing horns. Still, I’m not oblivious to the institutional nature of things, how the history of faith organizations have systematically collapsed millions; billions even. It’s a conflict between the deep rooted essence of the faith’s most principled tenants and the cloistered, maniacal fingertips of its so easily manipulated body - like a costume awaiting a bolt of blood and flesh. The complications here are part of the beauty of it, almost. Where am I, what am I talking about? Music? Abrahams work on Play Scar perhaps doesn’t fit wholeheartedly into my religious deviations, but it does, in its own way, assert itself as principally astute and pure, while still managing a gloriously secular, pulsing aesthetic. Abrahams’ master here. A sound engineer of incredible depth and intelligence. A teacher of what is possible, of skill, restraint, texture and volume. So, kiddies, with your laptops and pedals, look up – this is how it’s done, and these are the ways to do it. In this category, Abrahams aligns himself with the likes of Fennesz and Keith Fullerton Whitman, though neither of the two have managed something at the level of Play Scar in recent years. Thankfully Abrahams came to bat. Play Scar, in addition to being smart, tinny and confident, is wildly diverse without feeling like patchy or thrown together. Really, in the simplest terms, it’s an epic, in that spiritually grandiose way. Like art. That white-pure art. What more could you ask for? (A competent review.)


Play Scar stream on Boomkat