While The Red Fish Sleeps is carefully crafted work of drone-drift from American sonic-practitioner Ben Fleury-Steiner. Brittle layers brush up against each other, forming a pleasing atmosphere that Fleury-Steiner tells us is derived from memory fragments. Certainly if feels like this music has deep roots. On Soft Corridor.
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The submerged Ben Fleury-Steiner makes drones around oscillation and cosmic disturbance, taking what should be warm textures and chilling them. His compositions feel constantly threatened, not by an outside source, but by their own lack of resolve: on ‘While The Red Fish Sleeps’, he uses the traditional rise and fall of many of drone’s typical greats, but fosters an environment of constantly shifting noise that captures the ocean. Water droplets are heard cresting against shorelines throughout, but what’s more prevalent is a constant suppressed ringing, a sound that suggests constant pressure that can only be broken by the wise decision to come up for air.
Steiner attempts to investigate each aspect of the ocean floor through this record, and while it begins suffocatingly, it also gives into the warmth and brightness we expect to find at the bottom of the ocean, as well as the feeling of constant movement -- the idea that the ocean, unlike the world above, is never grounded. His soundscapes are unwavering and oppressive, but he also uses organic, more humane sounds to bring us back to the centre: the abstract percussion of “White Moth Arcade” temporarily stops us drifting before we’re buried in waves. With few real changes in pace or structure, Steiner has created a huge drone record with a lot to be afraid of. For the agoraphobic -- for those who feel more trapped than ever in the wide open, with a world of possibility -- this record is a feat.
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