Label: Notice Recordings
Montréal-based composer Chris Strickland searches not for minimalism, but to minimize: technique, narrative, emotion. All recorded live either at CKUT or Espace Project, both located in Montréal, the compositions on Excruciating Circumstances in the Kingdom of Ends reside on a different expressive axis, fingering the raw edges of his sonic ingredients. Field recordings with the flat haze of surveillance footage or the feeling of gazing from afar are interwoven with wobbly but painstaking drone notes, rarely with more than a handful in a single sequence. Unsentimental and even obstinate, there are hard cuts between sections, and—most intriguingly—a playing technique free of both emotional vibrato and focused flatness. Played notes are shaky but not hesitant. Governed pace-wise by strategies of “deliberate uncertainty,” Strickland’s compositions proceed at a walking pace, moved through like green spaces of remote urbanity.