There’s a certain patience that’s required to fully engage with Matterings. It’s a good twenty minutes longer than the other recent Erstwhile releases but it goes beyond album length—when your source material is different aspects of nature, the process of recording, editing, and compiling tracks feels like excavation. It’s with these slowly unfolding tracks that we as listeners can partake in this enduring process to recognize the fascinating qualities that lie hidden in the world around us. On the hypnotic long-form drone of "bight”, we can hear the sound of rocks breaking near the end of the track. String-like melodies loom overhead, as if to soundtrack the destruction that occurs at such titular locations from oncoming waves. On "mammatus", Jerman and Barnes sound like they’re recreating the inner workings of the cloud feature itself. We hear slow-moving machinery complimented by periodic thuds and static, all of which result in an undisturbed stretch of rainfall. “in situ”, the album’s 22-minute centerpiece is perhaps the most cinematic of all. In it we hear crotales slowly gain prominence, erupt in distorted noise, and eventually deteriorate. There’s an ashes to ashes-like narrative to it and it feels surprisingly poignant. It seems to point at what Matterings is all about; in conception and execution, it often feels like a love letter to the world around us. And in the process of interacting with nature, we see a certain beauty that comes with being able to relate to it.
[note: this mini-review originally appeared in a multi-part post recounting my ten favorite records of January]