Lately, there have been a few moments, when for a brief but very intense period of time, I lose touch with reality. There is a feeling of flotation, as I escape the prison of my body vehicle, then the gravity itself, and finally merge with the emptiness. It’s not exactly a pleasant experience, to be honest, as I become overwhelmed with terror, which stems from this passing juncture of existence, in its unique and lonely incarnation, ephemeral universal suffering, and ultimately, death. There is “this” and then there is something else, as of yet unknown, and during this brief moment of transcendent clarity, I don’t understand it. I don’t understand the “this”. I turn to my breath, but my pulse quickens. I close my eyes, but darkness is horrifying. I feel my limbs press against the ground, but the weight is just another reminder of the yet unexplained gravitational force. With all my sensory inputs screaming at me their interpretation of “this” I finally turn to music. This is where I feel at home, this sounds familiar, in whatever definition of “normalcy” may exist… this is where I feel safe…

However troublesome above may sound (no pun intended), I still desire the encounter with another “this” in a more controlled manner. And that’s when music comes to aid. For a particular feeling of intergalactic flotation, weightlessness, and universal unification, I turn to James Clements‘ latest release on his very own Auxiliary imprint, titled Trans-Neptunian Objects, with eight long, all-encompassing, and drifting across space, ambient pieces, each named after an individual dwarf planet, natural satellite, or small solar system body (like an asteroid), which orbits the Sun at a greater distance than Neptune, the eighth and farthest known planet in the solar system. As you can imagine, this ambient exploration, spanning 73 minutes of music, is solitary, meditative and very deep. And in its aim, intent, and purpose, it is absolutely flawless.

To many followers of Clements’ ASC moniker, this ongoing fascination with space may not be a surprise. In 2011, in collaboration with Samual Wood (aka Sam KDC), Clements released an ambient drone album, titled Decayed Society. For other releases, ASC’s output occasionally approaches dark explorations of drum’n’bass, experimental techno, and even bass-driven nebulae of sound in between. For examples, I highly recommend you check out Imagine the Future (2015), The Farthest Reaches (2016) and Near Death (2016). But his attention to textural detail is always there, whether accompanied by throbbing rhythm or not. Thus, on Trans-Neptunian Objects, a listener is able to grasp the full spectrum of Clements’ intricate control of perceived acoustics, through a sweep of frequencies, time-based signal processing, and ultimately space. And yet, outside of all those sophisticated production qualities, the music is entirely something else… something that always manages to anchor me, even if for a brief moment, and allow me to be content with that other “this”… a sonic reflection of reality… and leave things as they are… however frightening in their existence… |


Words by HC