Seth Chrisman is a musician and multimedia artist from New Mexico (USA) who, under his Widesky moniker, presents Floating in Being, a 4-track EP recorded during the winter months of 2009-2010. In the making of this record, Chrisman informs us that his work was “inspired by feelings of intercorporeity with the acoustic environment and the vast and barren sepia-tinged landscapes of rural New Mexico”. From the pastoral A Torpid Memoir, where melancholic guitar layers, drifting drones and rural field-recording suggest a long-gone childhood through a black and white lense, to the doom-laden Cascade Like Tesserae, Chrisman creates his music in the form of a worn-out photo-album, where old images conjure up faded memories and bring up the past in shaded focus. The penultimate track Celsius certainly stands-out as the most interesting composition – an ominous and sombre drone emerging from a grey rainy day and filling up the air with dark and dissonant sonic clouds, soon lit-up by delicate reverberating sine-waves, revealing Chrisman’s talent for crafting intricate and strongly suggestive spaces.
- Pascal Savy, Fluid Radio
If the title of Widesky's Floating in Being has transcendental overtones, so too does the music itself, which is steeped in electro-acoustic reverie (the title, incidentally, comes from a text written by phenomenologist-philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty: “the body is lost outside of the world and its goals, fascinated by the unique occupation of floating in Being with another life, of making itself the outside of its inside and the inside of its outside . . . movement, touch, vision, applying themselves to the other and to themselves, return toward their source and, in the patient and silent labor of desire, begin the paradox of expression”). Taking inspiration from the sprawling vistas of his New Mexico home base, Seth Chrisman used field recordings, found sounds, and various software and DSP trickery to produce the four meditative Widesky settings that undulate and meander relaxedly on Floating in Being. The outdoorsy character of the material is captured in the field recorded sounds of children playing, campfire crackle, and burbling water. In essence, the EP's focus is on meditative electro-acoustic ambient-dronescaping, with acoustic guitar picking, electric guitar washes, hazy electronics, and field recordings at the forefront of tracks such as “A Torpid Memoir” and “Cascade Like Tesserae.”
- Ron Schepper, Textura
Like the work of Scott Tuma and the Boxhead Ensemble, the four tracks that make up Widesky's EP Floating in Being sound like country songs minus the songs. It's as if a crack Nashville session band had found themselves, while tuning up, so enamored of the sounds they were emitting, they just stuck with tuning up, with hearing how the lightest touch of a guitar, and the mere movement of percussion instruments, would yield a thing of such beauty that they needn't concern themselves with lyrics about broken down pick-ups and love gone bad. On perhaps the strongest track on Floating in Being, which would be "A Torpid Memoir", the voices of children open and close the piece (they also provide transitions elsewhere on the recording). The effect is to frame the associative dreamstate of the rest of the work with literal calls back to reality, even if the reality is itself a thing of playfulness.
- Marc Weidenbaum, Disquiet
Widesky’s Floating in Being begins with “A Torpid Memoir ” that by using the word “torpid” may point to a certain sluggishness or apathy on part of the artist. But upon the first listen we find that this is not the case as the true definition of the word “torpid” shows itself as hidden and dormant, a memory very comfortable in its place, a memory needing a delicate coaxing to show itself. Seth Chrisman’s aka Widesky juxtaposition of field recordings and ambient soundscapes paint an aural landscape of the New Mexico winter and his other journeys though the mind that are gentle but strong in their composition. You probably already have given this work a listen and might have it on your portable listening device. But, if you are like me and sometimes good music slips through the cracks, don’t let Floating in Being be one of them.
- David Nemeth, Acts of Silence
As Widesky, Seth Chrisman pieces together richly coloured textures from field recordings which range from children playing to water droplets and bird song into these four soundscapes. The opening track of the EP 'A Torpid Memoir' allows the listener to experience the surrounding sounds, whilst being inactive within them, or as the EP title suggests, 'Floating in Being'. Chrisman continues to explore this theme on 'Lamb Country Tumbleweeds', a track that requires a certain level of concentration not to miss the layers of intricate detail that shift ever-so-subtly. These micro-sounds are also present on 'Celsius' which meditates on changes in temperature. Chrisman's sensitivity to his surroundings is no more evident than on last track 'Cascade of Tessera', as it describes the recesses of stone surfaces, or ancient mosaic pictures; a tessera is an individual tile in a mosiac.
- Michael Waring, FutureSequence
released 02 February 2011
Seth Chrisman - acoustic guitar, electric guitar, maraca, tambourine, field recordings, processing
Special thanks to Jonathan Lees
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