Arthur King is not one particular person; it is a dynamic art collective, usually addressed as Arthur King & the Night Sea when referring to its 7-piece ensemble. But this time it’s just Peter Walker and Aaron Espinoza, venturing the plateaus of Utah with only each other and their recording equipment. Their new album, Changing Landscapes (Grand Escalante), features field recordings gone adrift in search of something more.
This epic meandering drone album is thoroughly engaging, despite how daunting. With some simple math, one would expect each of the five tracks on this nearly fifty-minute journey to be ten minutes each, but shockingly, one is barely over two. 'Scorpion' is really little more than a sonic purgatory, and it is only enjoyed as such, if at all, if one has persevered through the opening track, 'Western Fence Lizard'. Not that this record was made for everyone; understandably, music that requires such patience is an acquired taste–but we are all capable of acquiring it. Ambient music mimics life in its spontaneity and bliss, and doesn’t ask us to suspend reality.
Arthur King have ushered in more than a simple impersonation of life, though; they use real sounds of nature captured on a trip to Grand Escalante. Some of the most unsettling sounds are the ones that sound most human, whether a pulsing heartbeat ('Zzyzx'), distorted voices ('Cottonwood Road'), or simply the implication that someone is near, felt in the rustling brush which recurs throughout. But then, isn’t the feeling of discomfort what makes us most human? Or more broadly, it is the feeling of self-awareness, in any situation. Feel your humanity deeply, and meditate on Changing Landscape.
21+, 8pm doors
WONDERS OF NATURE
131 GRAND STREET
L to Bedford
J, M to Marcy
G, L to Metropolitan/Grand