Graphic score interpretation is taken to the next level with this new release for Shelter Press. Thoughts of a Dot as it Travels a Surface is a live musical interpretation of a series of wall drawings by Zin Taylor from the unlikely pair of Christina Vantzou and John Also Bennett (whose music I’ve previously heard as 1/3 of kosmische revivalists Forma). Wouldn’t have pegged these two to ever sit down and make music together, but the result sees them comfortably tapping into a common wavelength.
As far as the relationship between drawing and music goes, it’s difficult to tie the two together in more than superficial ways. The drawing is minimal and so is the music, and the visual cues more-or-less match up with the sonic ones. Beyond this I look at one and hear the other and don’t get much of a sense of them matching up. It’s not something to dwell on, however, as CV & JAB have created an album that stands fine on its own, regardless of whether or not it seems to fit the drawings.
From the onset the duo establish their sound as spacious and unhurried. The cross hatching of Vantzou’s electronics and Bennet’s piano harkens to the distinguished Alva Noto + Sakamoto partnership. However, CV & JAB render this a somewhat lazy comparison, as their breadth of sound—extending into flute, field recording and even the human voice—takes the listener into realms slightly more twisted and surreal.
Notes flutter inside halos of reverb and dissolve like snowflakes on the surface of a pond. There is a striking but strange prettiness milling about in these sounds, peeking through unpredictably and only after one acclimatizes themselves to the alien soundscape put forth by these two artists. Like the dot as it travels a surface only to become a line, these performers cast sounds through a dream only for it to turn on the dreamer.