Under Review

Under Review: Permanent Colours, The Cyrillic Typewriter

Faur Tuuenty

Permanent Colours by The Cyrillic Typewriter is a timbral palette of dense drones, oscillations, and sonic layers for one’s ears to pick through. Released in October 2020 on the notable Jaz Records, it features Jason Zumpano playing synthesisers, rhodes piano, electric guitar, bass, piano, and percussion; and features Terri Upton on the double bass. Vancouver electronic/ambient artist, Loscil also has a hand in the colour arranging with processing on tracks “New Noise” and “Naive Rhythm.” The cover art spotlighting an animate green orb was done by Canadian artist, Jason McLean, who is based in Brooklyn.

The opening track, “Torn Pocket,” features a low dense, pulsating, drone that Zumpano gradually introduces splashes of piano, synth, and guitar to ornament it. These intermittent sounds are gentle and feel like they are in dialogue with each other. The track really opens up with more rhythmic motivic development over the halfway mark, with pianos, a trembling synth, guitar, and introduction of the double bass. The drone eventually becomes slightly more bitter tonally and balances the track’s overall sweetness. There are many bits of sound to get curious about on this track.

A contrasting track, “Naive Rhythm,” starts with a strong percussive drone that consists of a drum hit and an almost complete stringed chord soaked in a cathedral-like reverb. A dissonant sliding melodic line is brought into the texture that is utilized as a motif. More layers of delicate and dramatic synths enter around the pulsating rhythmic ostinato. The initial percussive hit in the track gradually fades away as if disappearing into the space from which it emerged — leaving the listener haunted by the ghost of the first sound heard.

“New Noise” starts with a grainy synth that is light and shiny. The introduction of Upton’s prominent double bass playing on this track with drones and bowed bass harmonics are skillfully executed and give the drone forward momentum and harmonic glimmer.

The album is worth a careful listen if one wants to explore some spectral drones and colourful sonic spaces. The record is never static and its nebulous shape is pleasurable to aurally witness unfold. —Faur Tuuenty