Here Lies Universality

A 5 track ambient ep (35m 30s) — released December 9th 2022 on Avian

Lamin Fofana debuts on Avian.

The Sierra Leonean producer arrives on the label with Here Lies Universality, a brace of undulating sound design explorations – in equal parts tense and meditative; thorny and worked smooth.

Despite the beatless nature of the compositions, Lamin Fafona'swork is imbued with the spirit of Detroit's pioneering Techno experimentalists. As such, it is Ambient music that does not exist as a peripheral flavor to color the listeners own experience, but rather as a vehicle for expression that requires attention and observation. The artist uses sound as a vehicle to examine the historical movement – forced or otherwise, of Black people across the globe, and how this movement feeds into inequitable contemporary socio-political and economic power dynamics. Fofana explains that this latest missive, 'rubs against liberal universalism and reflects on how the pandemic exacerbates existing contradictions and violence significantly and puts them in high relief.'

Opener Here Lies Universality, with its warbling, crystalline lead-synths and pitch-bent tonal interjections offers an introduction to this latest deep-sea rumination. Made at once near with layers of surface noise, but simultaneously fathoms deep thanks to delicate pulses in the low frequencies, it builds gently before subsiding purposefully but without resolution. Split subtly into three movements, follow up Bankrupt Utopia Sez Tell Me begins life with a rousing lead sequence that approaches crescendo before dissipating with washes of heavy modulation. The recording continues with a more conversational tone and that heavy surface noise returns once more to the fore, driving the work and providing a satisfying level of sonic intricacy. Finally, the piece segues into a soft, almost mournful reflection in its closing minutes.

On the B1 the artist shares Here Lies Universality Redux, an alternative iteration of the title track. Soft and mediative in its early moments, the recording leaves its synth work behind near the mid-point and morphs into a dense matrix of aquatic sound design and field recording. Measure of Memory/ I Stagger and Remember continues to mine the Drexiyan palette to create a patchwork of shifting, granular sound architecture. Glistening in the high frequencies with timbral plucks and knocks giving the work a shape of sorts, there's a palpable – almost unnerving,sense of movement throughout. Resounding Water closes the EP, an echo of Here Lies Universality Redux's latter stages – but also a bookend, returning the listener to the depths after the glowing reverie that preceded.

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