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«Shadow Phase»
ROOM40, RM4153

Australian composer-trumpeter-sound artist Peter Knight (the former director of the Australia Art Orchestra) created Shadow Phase in the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic and deep in the maw of Melbourne’s 2020 long winter lockdown. The album is a deep and inspiring meditation on the nature of the connection, dedicated to the fellow-Australian poet and visual artist Ania Walwicz, Knight’s old friend and teacher, who passed away suddenly in September 2020. Still, the talks with her during the lockdown and the sound of her voice inspired Knight’s creative process.

Knight was inspired by Walwicz’s practice as a writer, where the subconscious might bubble up and the words arrange themselves into meaning-bearing forms that resonate more than represent. In their last conversation, Walwicz told Knight about all the different words they have for blue in Polish and Russian, and how words don’t just change our perception of things, but also actually change the thing being perceived. As Knight rode home following this conversation, he felt like anything was possible.

The immersive atmosphere of Shadow Phase is based on gentle, caressing ripples of minimalist but highly nuanced drones, playing patiently with light and dark colors and sounds and suggesting dream-like landscapes. Knight recorded these soundscapes with his trumpet, old Revox reel-to-reel, a couple of synthesizers and a harmonium. But he let himself dive deeper into the meditative soundscapes each time he sat down to record, and eventually distilled the long tones produced by his breath until they unfurled on tape loops and degraded beyond recognition and the only imprint of the initial gesture remained. This arresting meditation searches for the most profound vibrations – sonic and otherwise – that move and motivates us and evoke deeper reflections and understanding of the human state of mind in such unsettling times. It ends with roaring enlightenment.

Eyal Hareuveni

Peter Knight (tp, v, synth, laptop elec, Revox B77 reel-to-reel), Fia Fiell (synth), Jacques Emery (b)

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