Ever-prolific Toronto-based electronic producer David Psutka (aka Egyptrixx) first introduced his more abstracted Ceramic TL alias back in 2016 with the debut album ‘Sign Of The Cross Every Mile To The Border.’ Two years on this follow-up album ‘Perfect Lung’ sees him collaborating via the internet with Istanbul-based composer Ipek Gorgun, who’s previously opened for Ryoji Ikeda and played as part of a collective improvisation with Otomo Yoshihide, and is currently enrolled in a doctoral program of Sonic Arts at Istanbul’s Center For Advanced Studies in Music.
As track titles like ‘Aerosol Tropics’ and ‘Perfect Lung Polymer Earth’ suggest, the ‘perfect lung’ being referred to here appears to be the Earth’s delicate balance of homeostasis, something matched perfectly by the often oceanic ebb and flow of Psutka’s abstracted electronics, which frequently reminded me of the churn of microbeads in sea water currents on his preceding albums. While there’s a sense of fluidity and balance between Psutka’s more deconstructed electronics and Gorgun’s more precise and emotionally loaded arrangements on the eight tracks collected here, there’s also the sense that this collaboration has taken both artists off in directions that they wouldn’t necessarily explore on their own.
‘Tactics Is Hench’ opens this album on a note that flows smoothly from ‘Sign Of The Cross’ as glittering melodic tones hang suspended above a yawning backdrop of smeared out grey ambient tones, before splashes of percussion suddenly burst into life, adding flashes of vivid colour as they ripple and refract through Psutka’s digital processing, the more forlorn atmospheres of Gorgun’s ambient backdrops assuming centre stage towards the track’s end. ‘We Lack The Clout The Decision Isn’t Ours To Make, There Was No Crusade After All’ meanwhile builds epic levels of atmosphere over its eight minutes as rippling layers of vibraphone-esque percussive tones lap against ghostly bass chords and hissing gaseous sounds.
Things begin to take on a more pensive tone during the track’s second half as chiming minimalist guitar chords build into a brooding sense of menace amidst buzzing feedback, only for the fragile flecks of instrumentation to fade back off into the distance. Elsewhere, ‘Aerosol Tropics’ offers up what’s easily this album’s most brutal moment as digitally contorted bass tones throb and ebb like a machine and metallic sounding harmonics ring out amidst the crunching digital processing like eerie spectres.
If anything, it provides a suitable palate cleanser before ‘Perfect Lung Polymer Earth’s languid float through blurred ambience and wordless siren-like female vocals, the synthesised woodblock notes that dart throughout adding smears of melodic colour as the layers of percussive textures that ebb and rattle below add a touch of friction to the gliding sense of fluidity. All up, ‘Perfect Lung’ offers up an extremely impressive debut collaboration from Psutka and Gorgun that’s definitely a more emotionally direct listening experience than ‘Sign Of The Cross…’