Ambient electronic music has ways of creating worlds bigger than one’s own, especially if one is creating such soundscapes in a bedroom. San Diego artist Thomas Walsh’s first proper full-length release, entitled Mechanics Of Deference, escapes the confines of personal space and explores the cosmos in all its magnificence, wonderment, and the dubiety that comes with it. The opening title track manipulates the angelic field recordings of the St. Mary’s College of California’s performance of “Ave Maris Stella,” laying backdrop to ethereal modulating synthesizers. The entire composition blending into blissful obscurity.
Walsh introduces you to his otherworld by creating a sonic threshold for you to cross, a portal to enter, whose other side is equal parts miraculous and ominous. The ensuing tracks maintain the beauty of this opening statement, but tinged with a definite urgency, anxiety. “Child of Light” and “Child of Light pt. ii” instills that sort of anxious excitement of discovery, or of being discovered. Like being camouflaged in plain sight and having your enemies pass right by you. It wells up in your chest and your throat and flows through your person, down the arms and legs and fingers. It’s uncertain, perhaps even foreboding, yet irresistible. There are, of course, moments of reprieve. Euphoria. But, of course, they don’t last. Between the guttural drone of keys and distorted spoken word, “Furnace” introduces living, breathing fear. The person whose hand you’re holding in heaven, disappears.
Quivering sounds like the shaking of your knees standing before the unknown, wrapped in an inviting dread. Your loved ones about to eat you alive. It’s enough to make you want to tear your own teeth out. But it’s beautiful still, and beautifully executed. The incessant, insistent inclusion of noise, or the abrupt break in consistency reminds that the anxiety of betrayal may exist even in paradise. Things could go south at any point.
Mechanics Of Deference is out now on Perfect Law Releases. Stream it here.