Los Angeles-based producer Ahnnu takes us on a multi-fidelity excursion into the modern consciousness with his latest release “Battered Sphinx”. Approaching the world of classic concréte sound work from a modern electronic music mentality, Ahnnu is able to juxtapose a multitude of styles against each other, almost as if a musical anthropologist, creating a surreal dialog between musical and non-musical sounds. Although traditional hip-hop and beat production ideas of sampling are utilized, they are no longer at the mercy of rhythm and percussion, but instead set free to meld with experimental digital synthesis in a new context altogether. A dusty vibraphone sample will collide head on with a wavering sawtooth digital synth, briefly conversing with each other before a hard cut segued by tiny shards of looney toon sound effects, ancient pan flutes, and the ghosts of jazz piano trios past. There is plenty of technological detritus left behind from the surgery, to the point where tape hiss and vinyl crackle act as a compositional element, dousing the tracks in a warm, aqueous psychedelia. The result is a listening experience akin to putting one’s music collection on shuffle, creating an incision in the laptop screen, and mixing the resulting liquid with a large cup of Sprite. Ahnnu displays a tremendous capacity for listening and comprehension of sound, and his delicate sense of pacing and balance creates an intimate glimpse into the growth of an artist through dedicated experimentation.
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