2Dwave: Corners, Paths, Noise


[Maison Fauna; Dec. 11]

Last month, Maison Fauna released Field Guide Volume 1, a compilation that staked out the Durham electronic label’s musical terrain (house, techno, and UK garage), its mission to curate local producers alongside like-minded souls from around the world, and its vibe of stylish, humane hedonism.

It also served as a roadmap of potential future releases, one of which became real on December 11 with the release of 2Dwave’s vivid new EP, Corners, Paths, Noise. 2Dwave is the project of Simon Briggs, the most cerebral of the Maison Fauna founders. His contribution to Field Guide, “Flood Cove,” was an entrancing minimal-house caress with a surprisingly hearty bass line. He develops that contrast between placid surface and subterranean mobility here.

“Worlds We Create” encapsulates Maison Fauna’s house style of unorthodox UK garage, which Briggs draws up to the edge of ambient music. He wrangles spirochetes of melody, ticking cymbals, and knocking kicks into a ruffled 4/4 time, then fills it with dewy pads and ghostly sprays of kalimba, which all tightens into propulsive formation like a school of fish at the graceful drop.

The thumb piano lingers through “Vanish,” tattooing billowing chords and deep-house vocal bends, while harp runs scintillate through “Wade.” And “Tobacco Trail” is the pure UGK peak, infested with insectile arpeggios and slathered with mooing bass.

Briggs’s music is distinctly tactile, both aqueous and airy; but the dreamlike atmosphere courses with alert, intelligent gestures. Corners, Paths, Noise plunges his history in Chicago ambient circles into the welter of contemporary Durham, where the likes of Treee City and FootRocket and CALAPSE (all Field Guide contributors) mingle far-flung strains of electronic music without concern for the rules. A fine, deeply felt work in itself, it’s also a pitch-perfect expression of Maison Fauna’s steadily blooming boutique-with-heart brand. 

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