A few months after Distortion Hue (Hands in The Dark), Los Angeles-based sound artist and musician Byron Westbrook has released a new album with his own name. Mirror Views is out now via Ash International.
According to the press release, On Mirror Views, he seamlessly blends cassette field recordings with “faked” synthesizer binaural environments created from noise and unstable tones. The album’s four sections and 72 minutes unfold with patience, taking cues from Luc Ferarri and Maryanne Amacher to use the passage of time to create deeply immersive effects. Westbrook also incorporates animated phase relationships between speakers to simulate perspective shifts, blurring what is a documented event vs. electronic fabrication. This is a work of subtlety and sonic precision that is only possible to reproduce on CD and digital formats.
Mirror Views is composed from audio elements of Threshold Variations, a multi-channel audio and light installation presented in 2017 while Westbrook was artist-in-residence with ISSUE Project Room in Brooklyn. The audience visiting the installation was invited to navigate a dark room with mirrored walls while a sequence of colored low lighting filled the space, gradually shifting hue and amplitude as the sound played at low volume, co-existing with exterior sound. The installation’s focus was dynamic play with perception of presence, both real and imagined.
The sounds heard here are a mix of cassette field recordings made on or around the August 21, 2017 solar eclipse, intermingling with synthesized environments created with the Buchla 200 Synthesizer at EMS Stockholm while in residence in late 2016. During his stay in Stockholm, Westbrook resided in a notoriously haunted boarding house where many claim to have seen a ghost in the mirrors in the top floor apartment. While he never witnessed the ghost, he was constantly looking. The recordings made from those sessions represent that anticipation: a straining to see presence revealed through haziness, not unlike the experience of gradual light changes experienced during the eclipse which inspired in the installation.