Review | By TJ Norris / Toneshift
Silva Datum Musica | PLEIN AIR
With each names for trees, this latest collaboration between Tim Collins, Reiko Goto, Chris Malcolm (here as Silva Datum Musica) is a unique journey into the great outdoors via a custom-built plant-driven synthesizer – you heard that right. An instrument that “uses scientific sensors and software programming to generate real-time tree leaf data. Light, photosynthesis and transpiration modifies sound: the rhythm, melody, texture, tempo and harmony shift with atmospheric conditions and tree response – electronically.” The trio act like performative sound painters on Plein Air. The outcome has a droopy quality on Alder, that seems like a retro flashback, like the accompaniment to a silent movie. This continues with gaseous exhaust and flourishes of organ and mysterious tones right into Oak and through the manipulated forest. Having taken a decade to orchestrate this, there were obviously a lot of technical aspects to overcome in the process – but this blend of scientific photosynthesis, etc. has a great impact on the pleasant awkwardness of the chords. This has the presence of something circus-like, or perhaps an organ grinder in the streets of Paris circa the 1950’s – it’s impossible to peg, and exciting to contemplate. Having been recorded in Scotland there lays the essence of the place in the tonal shadows. []

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