Yann Novak – Scalar Fields (Room40)


A queer interdisciplinary artist, composer and curator based in Los Angeles, Yann Novak describes his work as exploring notions of perception, context and movement through the construction of immersive spaces that seek to heighten the audience’s awareness of the present moment. To this end, he’s spent the last two decades creating audiovisual installations, performances and sound pieces intended to allow audiences to “reclaim the present moment and explore the politics of awareness”.

This latest download only album ‘Scalar Fields’ from the extremely prolific producer on Room40 sees him continuing to pursue that goal by slowing down video-sourced sound to the point where change is imperceptible, thus creating ambient sound with no attack or delay, only sustain. Indeed, Novak describes his overall intent here as being “to create a time-based piece that could be experienced more as a painting or sculpture could – a static object that gains meaning through prolonged observation”.

Built around two expansive tracks (each clocking in at exactly 20 minutes in length), this album manages to accomplish that task. As mentioned before, there’s little in the way of development here, with ‘Scalar Field (Yellow, Blue, Yellow)’ offering up an oceanic wash of layered drones that seems to slow time down to a crawl whilst bathing the listener in a blissful bath of ambient sound.

In this case, distracted background listening simply won’t suffice; it’s only once give them your full attention that these tracks begin to reveal their full microtonal detail – much like moving closer to a piece of physical art to glimpse the tiny spatters of paint and subtle textural details. Give ‘Scalar Fields’ your undivided attention and time to work its magic, and you’ll be amply rewarded by the time this album finishes.


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A dastardly man with too much music and too little time on his hands