When I listen to a new work for the first time, I like to imagine the artist's process. With Devin Underwood's (Specta Ciera) music, it is easy to picture someone whole-heartedly, uninhibitedly enjoying his craft. His approach is as much about placing specific sounds in a space as it is about the journey getting there. He works tirelessly to articulate the images and stories in his head through the use of sound design and sonic exploration.
His latest work, "Underpass," pulls the listener along through a range of emotions, like a thread which acts as a sonic guide. The title track, "Underpass", opens the EP with deep swells of ambience, slow-moving melodies and sheets of static that swirl around the listener. Slow waves undulate and wash over the listener. In "Forgotten Room", Devin blends field recordings, subdued notes that seem to whisper, echoes that bounce around, low rumbles, and faint textures of what almost sound like a distant piano. "Unlit Pathway" contains brooding undertones, a hazy, blurry, dreamlike state, wind blowing, scraping sounds along surfaces, and tones that seem to reach out of darkness. The closing number, "Underpass (Darren Harper rmx)", retains the overall mood of the original while new sonic elements are introduced as an awakening with traces of guitar that merely hint at complete phrases.
Each of the four tracks stand solidly on their own - vignettes of a larger picture, a dense, sonic painting. Quiet snapshots in time that have been carefully crafted and thoughtfully executed reveal a lush tapestry and narrative. This EP only scratches the surface of the compositional style and approach Specta Ciera employs. With releases on I, Absentee, Secret Station Records, Audio Gourmet, Earth Mantra, and Distance Recordings, Devin is no stranger to experimental electronic music production. After experiencing "Underpass", do yourself the favor of delving deep into Specta Ciera's back catalog. You will be richly rewarded for your efforts.
Specta Ciera is a project pseudonym of experimental sound designer Devin Underwood located in Cambridge, MA. His work typically comprises of ambient drones, field recordings and avant garde electronics, although he is keen to experiment through different techniques as each release comes out.
Michael Waring at FutureSequence made a special cover artwork for this release. You can choose any of the 3 covers he did.
mastered by Devin Underwood
(cc) by nc nd November 2011