Wenngren / Bissonnette – The Meridians of Longitude
How long does a moment last? Well, it depends. On the speed at which you’re moving, for example. It is said that a particle in a particle accelerator, as it approaches the speed of light, experiences a corresponding slowing down of time. At such a momentum, a single second lasts the equivalent of many years lived at a more sedentary pace. This effect is called time dilation, and is one of many described by Einstein’s famous equation e = mc2.
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Each of the five tracks in this first collaboration between David Wenngren and Christopher Bissonnette can be heard as a single discrete moment – a single loop around a particle accelerator, or around the earth. The shortest track is more than seven and a half minutes long, yet they each give the impression of the unfurling of a single sound or sonic texture, whether this be a lush, lulling murmur (as in album opener A Deceptive and Distant Howl) or a thunderous surge (Their Hunted Expression). Moments you could crawl into, or get lost in; the thoughts of a particle as it drifts at almost the speed of light. The focus on a single oscillating drone, with the occasional subtle scattering of more percussive or fleeting sounds, produces a hold or stretching out of time that is perhaps similar to other temporal distortions such as the time of cinema, or of intense encounters with natural phenomena.
Wenngren’s previous work under the Library Tapes and Murralin Lane monikors will be familiar to many, and Bissonnette’s recent album ‘In Between Words’ was released on the Kranky label to much acclaim. On a superficial level “The Meridians of Longitude and Parallels of Latitude” perhaps has more in common with Bissonnette’s aural environments than with the acoustic instrumentation of Library Tapes, but a closer inspection reveals considerations of form and immersive atmosphere that are hallmarks of Wenngren’s approach. The album is rich with the warmth and tactility one has come to expect from the label (and from the mastering talents of Taylor Deupree). Whether a moment is measured in years, miles, or metres per second is ultimately beside the point: with “The Meridians of Longitude and Parallels of Latitude” it is enough just to be in it.