The Latin phrase multum in parvo translates approximately to "a great deal in a small space", or "much in a little". It’s a fitting title for composer, sound designer, multimedia performer, and analog synthesist Todd Barton’s 2018 Blue Tape release. Composed on the Buchla Music Easel and Epoch Hordijk Benjolin, the composition evokes things like space, ocean depths, and biomorphic abstractions all within its under-an-hour running time. Mr. Barton crafts a terrific study in improvised soundscapes that could be an epic poem, an elegy, or an alarm. From the opening moments, there is a sense of dislocation; you are no longer where you once were. Fast moving sounds lob and volley as pulses shift into liquid phrases that fall into percussive sequences. There’s a sense of the physical - warm, organic distortion, repetitive drones, deep sweeps and fluttering vibrations. There’s a sense of the metaphysical —voices of ghosts or machines, or ghosts of machines no longer needed. Most of all there’s a sublime sense of other and mystery.
Cover art by Ursula Baron