Aeronaut, who is Steve Fors (and half of the combo The Golden Sores) has been working at his sparse, complex approach to sound art for quite a few years now, but it all comes together beautifully on Coronal Mass, his first full physical release, presented beautifully in a hand-made box painted by the artist himself.
On each of the two 18 minute compositions, Fors allows himself to stretch out and fill every moment of those durations, but in a constantly shifting and evolving sort of way. The A side initially crackles with digital static offset by rising and falling melodic calls, blending melody with chaos. Soon all transitions to the blissful, soft tones, intertwined with one another.
While by no means descending into awful new age territory, there is a peaceful warmth throughout, and even once a bit of distorted electronic guitar enters the mix, the delicate balance is not upset. The guitar eventually envelops the entire piece in gauzy, yet sharp haze that embraces both dissonance and beauty.
The second piece stays even further away from the harsher passages, opting instead for a bleaker, more dour mix. Bowed tones and shifting passages of melody conjure up a distinct darkness that is moody, but not at all uncomfortable. Again, the more understated moments are buried in a passage of soaring, lush guitar squall before pushing the piece into a climax of glorious noise.
All too often works like this fall into rote repetition and time-filling genre clichés, but that never happens on Coronal Mass. Fors pieces together two long compositions that never become static, but always seem to be moving and flowing into one another, creating a fascinating microcosm of sound that stands out as unique, but is in league with the best works of sound art.