Folding In On Itself
More than two years have passed since Ezekiel Honig's last full-length, Surfaces of a Broken Marching Band, appeared, so one expects that his new collection, Folding In On Itself, will bring with it changes of one kind or another. Aside from the obvious first surprise—that the album appears on Type rather than Honig's own Anticipate imprint—others gradually declare themselves as the new release unfolds.
To begin with, there's a greater emphasis on texture and a more pronounced focus on incorporating field recordings in a purer form rather than isolating elements out of them to use as accents, rhythmic or otherwise, as parts of a song's structure. As he's done in the past, Honig plunders his immediate NYC environment for samples, resulting in sounds of subway train clatter threading their way into the album during “Subverting the Memory of Your Surroundings” and urban noises seeping into “A Closed Loop That Opens Everywhere.” There's so much real-world detail in “Ancestry Revisiting Each Other,” to cite one representative example, that the setting's musical elements almost function as accompaniments to its ever-mutating portrait of urban activity. Folding In On Itself finds Honig becoming more and more a sound sculptor focused on vertical layering and Musique concrète than in straightforward narrative arcs rooted in melody.
In places the material is immediately identifiable as Honig's—no one else but he could be responsible for the slow-motion pulse animating the muffled horn chorale bleating through “Subverting the Memory of Your Surroundings,” for example. And while a similar kind of beat pattern gives “Between Bridges” (as well as other tracks) its modest thrust, a new-found boldness is heard in Honig's deployment of vocal snippets in advancing the song's melodic dimension and integration of multiple layers of ambient noise textures. In places, traditional instrumental sounds emerge, such as piano during “Drafting Foresight,” for example, even if such sounds nevertheless appear treated in one way or another (“High & Low” even features what at least sounds like a swooping e-bow guitar). It's the handling of texture, though, that most differentiates the new release from its predecessor, with the new one exploiting the multi-dimensional textural possibilities of a given track to an exponential degree. Despite the new developments in Honig's music, it's still unmistakably his, and the new album can be seen as a continuation of his style rather than a radical re-definition of it. One might best think of Folding In On Itself as the latest, assured chapter documenting the continuing maturation and development of the New York producer's electro-acoustic sound.