Muyassar Kurdi’s eclectic collection Reality Tunnels is like a gallery of physical rooms humming with their own distinct resonant frequencies soaked into the walls. Buried deep within the spider’s web of unassuming, spacious quietude lays a hidden beast ready to devour you.
Suffused in a drone-laden collection of modern classical, already of the soft finesse that goes for $30 in pricey 180g vinyl reissues by Eliane Radigue or Luc Ferrari, lies a richly piquant kick of harsh noise to the head. It’s like getting a rare, delicate 12-course meal for the price of a dozen donuts.
The collection is as tempered and chaotic as its curator, the laconic yet explosive singer and conceptual artist Muyassar Kurdi. (Like a more liturgical yet futuristic Keiji Haino, Kurdi’s solo performances are whole-body-vibrating experiences, not to be missed.) It’s as if she’d made a mixtape for a long-lost loved one, if the eulogised object were space and tension itself. Dark, pounding footsteps, chainsaw distortion, lonely fiddles and bowed cymbals fill the humid night air of eleven distinct sound-caverns.
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Although the intensity may peak in volume at Meira Asher’s “L’Abolition De La Croix,” comparatively quieter tracks like Diana Policarpo’s “Water Gong” still hum and churn with a frothing, immediate madness. Some of these sound-rooms are as solemn as meditation chambers, while others feel as decadent as dance-halls or as humble as a kitchen with a broken heater in the middle of winter. Yet they are as “here” as you’ll ever be.
Anastasia Clarke’s “Crushed Matrices #2” swells with the lonely loops of a prayer bowl, but the otherwise peaceful drones are undermined by what sounds at times like chains scraping across the brass, at other times like ghosts wailing across the centuries. Sukitoa o Namau’s “Good Boy” rumbles with sampled machine-gun fire and slow, echoing drum machines that never quite come down to earth, but evoke just tattered half-memories of all-nighter raves that may not have happened. Kurdi somehow found 11 otherwise completely unrelated tracks that still sound like part of the same hazily remembered nightmare. You’ll keep coming back to the nightmare and never fully remembering it.