“Recorded using a Sidrassi Qin,” reads the note on Asteroid Anxiety’s Bandcamp page. If I take that as written, that Sedna II was made using only this small handcrafted synth from Meng Qi Music, then I’m doubly impressed with both the instrument and this album. Sedna II moves from deep darkness to enveloping drifts over the course of an hour. It has its challenging stretches where thick skeins of noise aggress against the listener’s ear, but that makes for a smooth balance in contrast to stretches where the sound simply runs deep and quiet. That balance is something of a saving grace for me with this album. While I get the whole noise concept, I tend to have only a moderate tolerance for it. But here, Asteroid Anxiety makes it work; the noise is functional and not overpowering. It never feels like “let’s twist this knob and see what comes out.” Rather, it’s a judicious application of texture designed to augment this sonic story. Given my own personal tastes, I’m more involved in Sedna II during the long quiet stretches, such as in “Sedna XXXVI,” and the way they at first quiet my mind and then build out of their docility into something richer and more active. “Sedna XXXIV” reaches points of near-stasis, long exhalations infused with pure patience. From there, Asteroid Anxiety slowly folds in edge-of-feedback sounds and a darkening atmosphere that never quite completely closes around us.
For a largely experimental work, I find that I enjoyed Sedna II more than I thought I would. There is an underlying deliberateness to it, the feel of a slowly executed scheme being laid out before us. Yet it also holds an air of being of the moment, the semi-certainty of sound that comes with hands-on synths like the Qin. Sound development can happen on the fly and it lends that elegant sense of imperfection adjusted into perfection. The work here is sparse and a little dark and won’t appeal to everyone, but the ride is very deep and nicely constructed, with solid dynamics that catch hold and keep your attention. Take a chance on this one.
Available from Bandcamp.