This sound art project of John Kolodij has only a few works out to date, but the proficiency heard on Sanguine Futures indicate that of a much more prolific artist. Working with John Twells (Xela, Type Records) and a guest appearance by trumpeter Greg Kelley, this work is as atmospheric and engaging as it is unsettling.
The distinction between field recordings and processed instrumentation is never clear, as both come together to form something greater. "The Northern Sky, Ablaze," for instance, meshes buzzing field recordings with a raw noise roar, with far off clatters conjuring images of some dangerous monstrosity lurking off in the distance. However, as it transitions into "River Runs Like Jewels," what sounds like strings and guitar lead to a melodic, at times delicate passage of music, with the environs left open and spacious, allowing the tones to breathe rather than be restrained by some unidentifiable darkness.
This same pairing comes across on the other side of the LP, where the dark hum and textural crackles of "Sleep Like the Dead" lurch menacingly. Eventually this becomes a scraping, grinding mess punctuated by metronome-like thud that simultaneously makes the piece more noisy and more musically inclined. A buried kernel of processed guitar amid a frigid, still atmosphere ushers in the transition to "La Chasse-Galerie." This eventually flows into a battle between dissonant noise and an understated melody. Eventually the noise wins out, encompassing everything before retreating, leaving a delicately beautiful passage to end the piece. "Methodist Bells," the album closer, feels like cold night fall: ambience and field recorded crickets give way to calming piano, bringing the chaos to order.
John Kolodij introduces a variety of moods and atmospheres to Sanguine Futures, at times pensive and reflective, at others dark and malignant. Never does it feel disjointed or schizophrenic. The transition from one mood to the next may, at times, be abrupt, but feels natural and appropriate, making for a strong, if sometimes exhausting work. Sanguine Futures transcends many different moods and styles, but Kolodij knows exactly where he is going the whole time.