Pascal Savy | The Silent Watcher

 Cat: AB042
 Time: Nov 2012
 Media: Digital Download

 Info: Tools manipulated in an old workshop, clocks 
 slowed down, the spinning wheel of a rusty bike, 
 children playing near a church, the sound of the wind 
 in Norfolk, climbing up the stairs in a disused windmill, 
 ghost echoes. Those are some sounds that constitute 
 the atmosphere of The Silent Watcher. Presented in 
 their raw form or heavily processed, they all relate to 
 old memories, often blurred and incomplete; the aural 
 equivalent of a faded polaroid.

 Artist site:

 PDF Press Release: Download

 01. Distant
02. Contact
03. Deconstructing Clues
04. Asleep
05. Oblique
06. Muon
07. Fading Colours
REVIEWS | The Silent Watcher
 The Silent Watcher presents seven heavily textured, atmospheric settings by electronic music composer Pascal 
 Savy. For his first full-length album, the London, UK-based producer worked with field recordings of workshop 
 tools, clock devices, rusty bicycle wheels, children's voices, and so forth (in their unaltered and processed 
 forms) to create miniature sound narratives of evocative character. Using granular synthesis techniques, Savy 
 manipulates the source materials so that a hint of their originating identity sometimes remains but also to such a 
 degree that the materials assume an abstract and open-ended character—much like an image that's so out-of-
 focus only glimmers of its outlines remain. Fragments of keyboard melodies, for example, ripple across whispering 
 drones in “Deconstructing Clues” while a human's distant cry intermittently surfaces. A percolating beat pattern 
 quietly pulsates throughout “Asleep” as if to mimic sleep's regulated brain activity, while minimal piano notes 
 punctuate wavering swirls of choral-like drift. Though there's a restless pitter-patter of warm keyboard tones, 
 echoing ripples, and other noises cascading across the smooth surfaces of “Oblique,” the piece largely sticks 
 close to its evenly modulated core. A darker undercurrent threading through “Muon” lends it a subtly menacing 
 ambiance, an impression bolstered by the sounds of nocturnal creatures chattering amidst the percussive clatter 
 and churn of industrial machinery. Savy's pieces are nominally ambient, though not so much that they blend into 
 the background like so much wallpaper. Though there are melodic elements, he renders their outlines fuzzy too 
 so that the melodies are broken up, muffled, and muted, as if heard through a semi-transparent scrim. The 
 resultant pieces are artful and nuanced, not to mention admirably understated—so much so, in fact, that close 
 listening is needed for the high quality of the material to be fully appreciated.

 Like much of ambient music, there is a filmic quality to Pascal Savy’s new release, The Silent Watcher. But rather 
 than presenting a panoramic view of some sonic landscape, Savy works in extreme, intimate close-up, pulling 
 tight focus to capture the intricate workings of things. Gears turn and interlock with stop-motion precision. Ice 
 crystals climb the length of a blade of grass. An insect’s leg moves on sand. All of it rendered in exquisite slow 
 motion, the ordinary turned alien, a moment pulled toward the horizon and held there.

 Savy’s abstract concepts stem from sounds he’s captured from a variety of sources. The ticking of clocks, a 
 rusty bike wheel spinning, field recordings…each bent, filtered and manipulated before being tucked with careful 
 finesse into droning backdrops. There is also an air of sadness throughout, the recollections of things cast off, 
 our attempts to recapture moments reduced by time and distance to imperfect memories. And yet, for all that 
 melancholy, The Silent Watcher is never overly heavy or imposing. Savy manages to make it oddly soothing while 
 maintaining both the emotional feel and the sonic intricacy.

 Allow yourself to be guided through Savy’s musings on The Silent Watcher. It’s a trip you’ll be taking more than 
 once. The Silent Watcher is a Hypnagogue Highly Recommended CD.

 The Silent Watcher falls in the wake of a surge in ambient drone-basing, a dolefully pastoral musically-inclined 
 specimen, for all that its vales and hills are alive with the sound of non-music; workshop tools, clock devices, 
 rusty bike wheels, children’s voices, the wind in Norfolk, climbing stairs in a disused windmill – these are a few 
 of Savy’s favourite found things, fragments of which spectrally populate his domain of expression, seemingly 
 relating to the fleeting flotsam of memory – scenes un-deleted, dreams re-membered, as it were.

 Opening salvoes from Savy are quietly suggestive, both “Distance” and “Contact” proposing a sustained settling 
 density, with chimes of melody obscured by granular clouds and distant aether-borne synth-echoes and the 
 flutters and folds of field infusions; these are rendered so as to retain ghost voices of source identity even as 
 their resonances are abstracted or diffused in a kind of aural halation effect. Things get more involving with 
 “Deconstructing Clues,” which smears tintinnabulating motifs across a drone bed uneasily populated by spectral 
 cries and slow falls inward. Just as a somewhat cloying feeling threatens, as the dip in mellow reverb-doused 
 drones and chimes moves toward something more immersively total, “Asleep” comes; a suddenly techno-
 inflected affair of clicks and kicks and bass pulse with dark minimal piano jewels studded through dense drapes 
 of Murcof-ian micro-orchestration; it incides nicely through the preceding quietude, its darker-hued beat-driven 
 orientation serving to add depth and variation, and more of this stripe would not hurt (as. the later “Muon” 
 likewise displays). The sombre solitary mood is returned to on “Oblique,” a slow simmering synth-gloop of 
 keyboards and chimes, ripples and cascades in a soft miasma of sounds – an atmospheric world later revisited 
 on the closing “Fading Colours,” which dissolves itself luminously in a velveteen haze of static. Before this the 
 crepuscular “Muon” has waxed and waned, its cycling particulate fluxions, crepitations and muffled hits sounding 
 and resounding to great effect. It’s noticeable in fact how those less cosy-warm spaces with their eerier 
 resonances and liminal machine chatter prove, as with the previous “Asleep,” strangely compelling – more so than
 the ostensibly more appealing adjacent pieces.

 Overall, then, a more than promising first outing permeated by a sense of carefully engineered choreographing of 
 atmospheres, and, as such, Savy’s arrangements strike at times as a little too studied – though not over-fussy; 
 ultimately, though, effective in evoking a state of mildly melancholic reverie. And mastering courtesy of (the 
 increasingly ubiquitous in this role) Taylor Deupree provides added atmospheric heft, unearthing the life behind 
 things within The Silent Watcher.

 Pascal Savy is a London-based electronic music composer who started experimenting with sequencers and 
 synthesizers in the late nineties. Being influenced by the Detroit techno scene, he started making recordings of
 his output on tapes and mini-discs.

 "The Silent Watcher" started on the initial idea of exploring sounds from very old memories that had somehow 
 crystallized into an abstract mental gallery. Well, the seven pieces on "The Silent Watcher" reveal some nice 
 craftsmanship embedded in the warm, introspective slightly melodic atmospheres, which features lots of lost 
 and found sounds as well. While carefully assembling granular textures, organic fragments and field 
 recordings, there’s a sense of longing and melancholy running through Savy’s quiet, smoothly layered ambient 
 soundscape excursions, which are related to old childhood memories. "Asleep" has a rhythmic, repetitive 
 structure with clicks, effects and dense atmospheres. A hypnotizing whirl of sedate sounds is also found on 
 the almost 9-minute "Oblique", a pure and honest atmospheric world that also marks on the great album closer 
 "Fading Colours".

 All in all, "The Silent Watcher" is a precisely mapped-out work of slow music and sound art, best experienced
 through headphones to catch it’s wonderful detail, warmth and moody spheres. This music for the slow lane 
 will appear to be very rewarding when you give it focused and repeated listening. 

 Pascal Savy started in the 90s playing Detroit techno, recorded onto tapes and minidiscs and stopped for quite 
 some time. Now he’s back, concentrating on more ambient textured music. To that end he uses field recordings 
 made in an old workshop, the slowing down of clocks, the spinning wheel of a rusty bike, children playing and 
 such like. In his music he treats these sounds on the computer and mixes both the raw, unprocessed parts 
 with the processed ones. It would be too easy to say his music is all ambient. Savy uses sustaining sounds 
 for sure, build from small extracts of his field recordings, but an important feature is also the use of loops. 
 Sometimes these loops are worked into something that can be called a rhythm, like in ‘rhythm machines’ – or 
 perhaps he just added those? The seven tracks make a pretty strong impression, while at the same time its 
 perhaps not much new under the sun of microsound, ambient, field recordings and drones. Savy adds small 
 musical touches to the material, such as the piano like sounds in ‘Deconstructing Clues’, which makes this 
 less abstract than the average release in this field. Excellent production – great compositions. Should have 
 been a real CD, I think. (Frans de Waard). 
 Audiobulb Is an exploratory music label designed to support the work of innovative artists. 

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