The polyrhythmic pulse of the natural world surges through Byrd’s productions, and though the sounds are mostly electronic and strictly metered, a landscape teeming with insects, birds, and wildlife fills the horizon. We’re languidly ushered through the gates on the opening ‘Enlightened Smudge on the Machine’, juxtaposing glassy tones with flute (from Berlin-based sound artist Diane Barbé) and skittering percussion that could have been lifted straight off Björk’s ‘Vespertine’. “No traffic, under the stem,” a stoic voice muses while sounds dissolve into waterlogged ambience. There are hints of vintage West Coast new age music, but Byrds’ over-arching theme is one of a contemporary digital reality slowly harmonising with its distant, bucolic past.

Field recordist Pablo Diserens provides some of the album’s most arcane material, handing over environmental recordings of sulphur pools, Arctic terns and glacial streams. The lengthy ‘Divine Morpho, Shimmering’ deploys a swarm of insects, forming a looped, uneven rhythm that counters Byrd’s pulsing electronics. Choral stems mesh with uncanny strings, blurring the line that separates artificial from organic sound sources. Byrd uses mutation and reconstruction as a form of “speculative melting” to bring us closer to utopia. On ‘Like Phantom Memories In The Slinking Storm’, one of the album’s most levitational moments, they tease twangy harp-lyre plucks into dubbed-out smudges, eventually given a reprise on ‘Grief Rituals’ where the same riffs are stretched into slower phrases, queered against giddy, xenharmonic drones.

Bird calls and tremulous exotica mark the brilliant ‘Fragrant Dusking’, and ‘Soft Body Virisdescence’ takes us to a gurgling, kaleidoscopic climax, with electronic processes thrust into the foreground. ‘Of Data & Delight’ distills all the album’s sonic elements into a sort of delirious fever dream, using pitched animal calls to signal sensuality. It’s not ambient, exactly, and it’s not wholeheartedly electro-acoustic either. The record exists at a place of convergence, as one era wrestles with a new dawn, and real life glimpses high fantasy.

– Boomkat

SP02, 2024
Vinyl, Edition of 300