M. Peck showcases his knack for live sound sculpture and flow creation on his latest release, Bodies to the Sky. Taken from a live set Peck played on stillstream.com in early 2010, the appeal here is in the sense of constant motion and development, of listening to Peck chart his course and then keep it deeply intriguing. Bodies… moves through a good number of spaces in its relatively short 49 minutes, and Peck keeps things largely in abstract territory. There are beats sprinkled here and there, and there’s also an ample supply of darkness. The trick, and Peck’s display of strength, is in the impeccable balance. The opener, “Experiments with Infinity,” grinds up from a dark drone to a point where Peck eases in a bit of an uptempo kick. It’s a smooth transition with a lyrical flavor. From here, Peck heads downward with the mechanical clatter and dense electronics of “Floating Out to See.” This space is purely abstract, a knot of sound that unwinds itself into a quieter place and does so with a logical sense of motion. Peck hits his dark ambient stride with “Den of Inequity,” building on blasts of sound that are thick and aggressive. This is perhaps the most challenging stretch of Bodies; the sound seems like it’s daring you to stay with it. “Operative of Relative Obscurity” opens up and lightens up and gives Peck the opportunity to show his true ambient chops. There’s a sense of suspense to it, with distorted vocal samples filling the space. “Let There Be Dark” starts off with the familiar feel of analog sequencing and oscillating tones, then strips down to deposit the listener in a desolate landscape of sound. A shift in tone later hangs on big, gorgeous pipe organ chords that come like a sense of revelation as the piece draws to a close.
Peck is a superb sound manipulator, adept at crafting atmospheres from the abstract, able to shift his spaces without losing the listener’s attention. Much of Bodies to the Sky depends on that connection our minds make between sound and sensation, the visceral response we take away from what we think we hear within it. A great release from M. Peck that you need to hear.
Available from Ethereal Live netlabel.