Album Reviews

Matt Parker & Stuart Cook: Parallel Vectors – “drones that envelope all four seasons”

Members of Capac combine for a serene journey of field recordings.

Parallel Vectors, the new album from Capac’s Matt Parker and Stuart Cook, is billed as “a story of two people trying to find connections between the synthetic and the organic; an interweaving ambient work interested in process, place, and space.”

Following on from Capac’s experimental overtures and general “beyond music” explorations, namely via Through the Dread Waste (2018), and last year’s abstract After Lights Out with Tom Harding, Parker and Cook go even further beyond these sound worlds on this collaboration.

Like most collaborations over the past two years, Parallel Vectors was produced with a lot of back and forth between Parker and Cook’s respective homes in London and Bristol. Working together with a deep focus on modular synth building, the result is a series of long-form, multi-layered drones that envelope all four seasons.

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The field recordings, which took place around the secluded parts of Europe, including parklands, forests, and off-grid research centres, create an ethereal atmosphere. While long-form in every sense (the six pieces totalling one hour and 26 minutes), for maximum results, Parallel Vectors is best consumed in parts.

Matt Parker & Stuart Cook - Parallel Vectors

Sonically, there are hints of the past throughout Parallel Vectors. Slowing rising from the vortex, Sierra María-Los Vélez is a meditative drone that the Bowery Electric may have produced had they continued beyond their three album existence. Then there’s the drawn out synth based-journey of Cortijada Los Gázquez, which wouldn’t look out of place on The Sight Below’s Glider.

Through their field recording journeys, Parker and Cook capture the fragility and seclusion of namesake compositions, Isabella Plantation and Derrydonnel Forest. Both minimalist drone pieces whereby you can almost smell the landscapes in which they were conceived.

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Final composition, Gerani 19 Buttes Chaumont  has hints of Loscil’s multi-dimensional sound design, but – like their work with CapacParker and Cook’s production techniques always seem as ‘beyond’ as their music, resulting in the kind of sound that has no currency. The movement is a lovely finish, tying together all the ideas the pair set out to achieve on Parallel Vectors.

While the soundscapes may be something other experimental purveyors have touched upon over the years, it’s the story behind these compositions that hold the real power. During these times, we all need a good story, and with Parallel Vectors Parker and Cook provide it.

Parallel Vectors is out now via Soundtracking The Void. Purchase from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

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