Lil, The Space Between

lil_spaceI am of two minds when it comes to Lil’s The Space Between, a mix of found sounds, processed vocals and electronic accents. One mind wants to classify this collection of sonic pastiches as an exercise in minimalism or something like it. Phrases repeat, elements recur, and a kind of running-in-place sense takes hold, which admittedly draws focus to the small details that composer Marcin Tomczak puts in place. The other mind gets tired of running in place. Tomczak’s collage style too often feels exceedingly random to me, like he’s making it up on the fly. Which can be fine–I have no problem with improvised music, although this is not what The Space Between is. But before too long, I start wishing for more of a sense of resolution. “Sputnik,” for example, uses a vocal sample of a singing woman, hitting the same series of notes over and over as the sounds around her change. And I wait for it to resolve out, which it doesn’t. It seems like the mindset is “let’s see what this sounds like with…this. And then…this.” And then it ends. Let me say that while I can’t describe what it is I’m waiting to hear, I can say that I get impatient waiting for it. “Amablis Insania” at least gives me an arc, rising from drones into a chugging steampunk sort of rhythm, then winding back down to quiet. Problem is, in the middle we hit that run-in-place feeling. Again, I am all for minimalism, but when it’s so stagnant that the lack of forward progression takes you out of the listening experience, that’s a problem. The title track is 24 minutes of changing scenery. It helps to bring an appreciation for experimental music to this one. Because I appreciate attention to detail, I’d have to give Tomczak high marks there. He juggles a lot of small sounds through the album, and especially on this track, and they work within the framework of what he’s doing. At issue for me as a listener is: I’m not sure what he’s doing, and so he loses me before the end of the album. Listeners more into higher-level musical thinking may hear it differently. Give it a try.

Available from Spectropol.

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