Pimmon - "Some Days Are Tones" (Smudge Another Yesterday)
Australian Paul Gough has been making and releasing beautiful music as Pimmon for over 10 years now, issuing a fistful of albums, singles and other assorted tracks that document his ever-shifting approach to experimental electronic esoterica. A devotee of a particular strain of laptop-based sound art that explores the points at which bare melody, mutilated sounds of unknown origin, and static are stretched across each other and back, the plethora of material he summoned around the turn of the century nestled comfortably next to the rising profiles of folks like Stephan Mathieu and Ekkehard Ehlers – distinctly liminal, yet still with a certain playful poise.
Surprisingly, he went (mostly) quiet for the past few years, so much so that last year’s Curse You, Evil Clown was his first full-length release in the five years since his great Tigerbeat 6 album Snaps * Crackles *Pops back in 2003. Smudge Another Yesterday, his latest for the Preservation label, follows quickly on those heels, capably showcasing that Gough could easily be at the forefront of modern ambient electronic music had he maintained more of a persistent presence.
In many respects, these nine tracks don’t stray terribly far from the terrain already well-mapped by his contemporaries. Gough’s sound is a distinctly familiar brand of gauzy drone, knotted and frazzled, with brightened corners thanks to slow-motion melodies coated in cloudburst. This time out, he displays a marked fixation on the power of the human voice, inserting wafting chants in between layers of mangled notes on “Hidden,” using it to add gentle, natural textures to the track. Elsewhere on pieces like “It Will Never Snow in Sydney,” sunken chords give way to growing mumbles, a chatter that matches against a steady onslaught of frozen tones.
Although he’s at his best when contemplating more pensive moments, Smudge Another Yesterday still makes room for the bizarre, like the queasy manipulations that permeate “Evil Household Ceremony” and turn Gough’s usual traipse through digital warmth into a more difficult affair. Better still, album closer “Some Days Are Tones” spends its time working a neat balance between almost muted power electronics and static warmth, with an occasional harmony breaking through the murk. All told, it seals an album that, while not the most essential release of 2009, ends up being a carefully constructed and worthwhile place to spend an hour.