Agitated Atmosphere: Area C – Charmed Birds vs. Sorcery

As major labels continue to exist behind the times, artists and labels with little capital and lesser reputations are producing some of the most innovative, interesting, and inspiring music. Whether it’s creating a new niche in digital technology or looking to once-obsolete formats, Agitated Atmosphere hopes to shed a bit of light and share a bit of information on the up and coming sounds of artists such as Area C

Area C – Meeting Mid-Air

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Erik Carlson has been making subtle guitar and organ-based music under the moniker of Area C for a handful of years. With each release or new installation, Carlson’s craft has continuously undergone quaint metamorphosis, honing in on his current obsessions. Charmed Birds vs. Sorcery, Carlson’s first release for Cincinnati-based Students of Decay, finds the artists and musician inside of the mind behind Area C joining hands in the lonely confines of space.

Much like Carlson’s NASA-commissioned recordings, Sea of Rains, Charmed Birds vs. Sorcery explores the genetics of spatial musics. The album is ambient, relying on the tools of manipulation, modulation, and pulsation to drum up a sense of melody. The bursts of electronic drones and static are kept in check, mimicking the sounds of an exploration rover searching for signs of water or life on the surface of an alien planet. Charmed Birds vs. Sorcery could be mistaken for a lo-fi retelling of Arthur C. Clark’s greatest work, but upon further listens the isolated pins and needles crystallized throughout Carlson’s latest is in fact very warm and friendly.

Charmed Birds vs. Sorcery refuses to encapsulate the notion of science being a lonely art, no matter how frigid the album may initially come across. In fact, the work of Carlson is very malleable and tender — it isn’t until the album’s 21-minute title track that the positive environment that has been built begins to be torn down. It’s at this point when our unnamed rover must commence working, sending its static-riddled signals back to Mission Control to tell of its findings. As in the real world, those white noise breaks are broken down into Morse sound waves, up to the latest forms of technology to reconfigure and interpret. In our case, the same is true — luckily we are privileged to rely on the highest form of technology at our disposal: the human ear.

You needn’t spend $30 Billion and endure the inconvenience of travel to experience space when Charmed Birds vs. Sorcery will reach its godly limb to the heavens, pluck the moon from its weighty hook, and gently bring it your home for a much smaller price. The pictures may not be as vivid but the soundtrack will be unforgettable.

Justin Spicer is a freelance journalist who also runs the webzine, Electronic Voice Phenomenon. He writes the Monday News Mash-Up and Thursday edition of Song of the Day for the KEXP Blog.

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