Bill Meyer unpacks listening to Slight at the Contact for Dusted:
“The lures to look elsewhere give the music’s sensual qualities an extra dimension, like lumps of paint built up and out from a canvas. But the activity situated at the periphery raises doubts about where the real action lies. Maybe the surface is a curtain, something to be parted?”
Complete review below:
“Medial,” the first track of Slight at the Contact, simultaneously evokes the music from two past decades. Its unhurried electronic abrasions recall Oval c. diskont 94; its shifting array of clicks, pops and squelches bring to mind Oren Ambarchi’s early records for Touch. But when a record opens with a word that indicates the middle of something, shifts of perspective are in store. For while it is possible to take the record as ambient music with an undercurrent of unease, you’ll get more out of it if you push past its surfaces.
It gives you plenty of opportunities to do so. High frequencies reminiscent of birdsong and distant rattles that might come from a microphone drawn across a surface wink at you from the periphery of the distressed bass surface of “Openness,” and trundling machine sounds and distant, echoing conversations break away from the layers of buffed grind that comprise “Lifelike.” These invitations are subtle and quiet, but they occur often enough that they must be part of the plan.
But just what does Gomberg have in mind? The lures to look elsewhere give the music’s sensual qualities an extra dimension, like lumps of paint built up and out from a canvas. But the activity situated at the periphery raises doubts about where the real action lies. Maybe the surface is a curtain, something to be parted?
Flip the record over and the implied birdsong becomes real. The chirps early in “Caprice” draw your ears away from the music’s simmering exterior, and when they reappear later on they seem to point to an eruption of arhythmic pixilation. Is this record a dialogue between natural and unnatural, or near and far? One thing is sure; it allots more payoffs to the act of picking it apart than to the experience of drifting upon its surfaces.