Been lost inside this PDP III album Pilled Up On A Couple Of Doves recently, which was released earlier this year via Shelter Press, the label that’s brought you releases from Okkyung Lee, JAB, Eli Keszler and more experimental faire. PDP III is the collaboration between Britton Powell, Lucy Railton and Huerco S., comprised of sessions the three musicians improvised together in December 2018, then curated by Powell to form this piece of art here: a record that bucks the trend of ambient music just wafting by you, rather, it assimilates you into its world rather than becoming part of yours. It has airy, gossamer textures that fill the room with smoke, but doubly employs oblique slabs of electronics that establish geometry in the sound stage, allowing other sounds to bounce off them and build a sense of movement and space.
The song I’ve featured here, “Walls of Kyoto” was the song that really stuck out to me on first listen and has brought me back to the album for at least a week now. On a comparison level, it reminds me of some of the dark ambient sounds and textures used on the Inside soundtrack by Martin Stig Anderson and SØS Gunver Ryberg. It sounds like you’re suspended in the air over a deep, cylindrical chamber, with gears and machinery whirring around you and futuristic scanners whiz by, taking visualizations of your presence. Then in the last two minutes, the fictional machine we’re suspended in turns on, and Railton’s heavily affected cello drone emulates a boring drill (like, a big hole-digging drill – the drill is not uninteresting) and shrieks of electronic feedback rhythmically and maniacally stomp closer.
On my first listen of this song, I was deep-cleaning my apartment after finding some strange small bugs tucked away in dusty corners, and was also recovering from a night of renewed, raw interpersonal anxiety. This song completely threw me into the woodchipper. It stopped me in my tracks. I love a good drill sound and the fact that it’s a cello amplifies it. It took the space that the song occupied, the narrative elements that it had been building up until that point, and completely obliterated them. This is an album that’s best listened to laying down first, eyes closed. Let your mind explore its shifting architecture and be free.