Review

Minor Science

Absent Friends Vol.III

Balmat • 2023

Angus Finlayson has always given his music conceptual frameworks whose basic idea did not quite reveal itself when looking at the details. »Absent Friends« is the name of a series that began roughly nine years ago with a mix for Blowing Up The Workshop that threw together a few whale songs with pieces by Iannis Xenakis, Rashad Becker and, last but not least, Finlayson’s own music as Minor Science. This was followed by another mix with—in the meantime no longer accessible—its own website for AD 93 and now an album with eight different pieces for Balmat, on which Finlayson lets sound dissolve into space and time. Finlayson works with stems that he usually uses during his live performances, interlacing them and letting them rub against each other. In this respect, »Absent Friends Vol. III«, like its two predecessors, follows a (dream) logic akin to that of the DJ mix. At the same time, however, it follows no logic at all, but first and foremost traces sounds and feelings. Even when kitschy piano melodies and bubbling hand drums invoke New Age tropes or a voice from the off announces different dates while water is splashing; when enoisms or hassellities clearly break through in these studio adaptations of his live activities, Finlayson never serves the common clichés of the genre in which his second album as Minor Science will inevitably be classified: ambient. That would, by the way, not be completely wrong in terms of sonics, but it is in terms of concept: »Absent Friends Vol. III« is disturbingly enigmatic and unpredictable, provoking inner turmoil instead of outer calm.