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Dark Sparkler - Are You Working With Me, or Against Me

Dark Sparkler - Are You Working With Me, or Against Me

by Em Maslich

I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Dark Sparkler [Kyle Swisher] perform around Seattle over the past few years, and each time I’ve been transfixed, bolted to the floor by some unnameable emotion as sounds rumbled and churned, came together, and fell apart; sounds I had never heard before. His latest release, Are You Working With Me, or Against Me, casts a similar spell with the fantastic and expansive tonal possibilities of a Buchla and Swisher’s sense for mood, texture, and space. “Intro” rolls in with an antagonistic edge, but before one can register its intent, it passes over to “Snow Day,” a piece that feels at once organic and metallic, with tones stacking and toppling, moving across open spaces with the assurance of natural phenomena. “Same Wave” is a ruminative exercise in contradiction and perseverance: It’s heady and otherworldly, like having a philosophical debate when under ether. “Too Late” opens with a muted sense of uncertainty, but distills itself with every cycle and loop into what it needs to say, forthright with its soaring brass tones. “2” vibrates and quivers into itself, folding structured drones with the kinetic energy of higher melody lines. My favorite piece, “Caol Ila,” roams and haunts with pipe organ apparitions and theremin-like vapors, and taps into something restless and wanting. Throughout Are You Working With Me, or Against Me, patterns establish themselves and then burn and blaze into new devices, sounds shift and bend and pitch into unexpected textures and timbers; sounds you think you recognize, think you know, but then suddenly don’t. For fans of Alessandro Cortini, Caterina Barbieri, Todd Barton. 

darksparkler.bandcamp.com