Josh Preston is a dark ambient / noise musician from Sydney, Australia whose music is self described as ‘The sound of trade, exchange, interrelation and operability’. ‘Exchanges 1 – 4′ is a collection of various haunting stark recordings arranged in a four song EP.
‘Exchanges 1-4’ is exactly what the title suggests, it is a haunting study of the sound of currency being withdrawn and deposited, things being shifted, moved from one place to another, displaced, replaced, exchanged in a number of ways, both related and unrelated. The entirety of this EP’s sound is the result of a collection of sounds arranged, collaged together to create an entirely new composition all while maintaining attached to the original source material. Eerie oscillating tones create an otherworldly soundscape while static forebodingly lingers beneath in a world that is at first glance alien to ours but given multiple listens is very much like our own. Much of the source material seems to be comprised of what sounds like doors and metal cabinets being opened and closed, the rattling of a fingers meeting the keys on a keyboard, people commuting; all reverberated, stepped and repeated, crackling, and decaying into a cluster-fuck of unsettlingly hollow sounds. It is the embodiment of a generation controlled by economical statistics, consumerism, and the exchange of items.
I found myself enjoying the overall concept of this release, that being the overarching theme of the exchanges that much of the sound on this release is derived from. The whole idea of a musician using sounds and arranging samples and recordings over the preferred method of vocals to create a statement is a good idea, it has worked before but like Kolumbus’ debut ‘Fleeting Hope For False Optimists‘, a musician who employed a similar technique, I found myself wanting something a bit more solid. At times the music felt sparse, I couldn’t help but feel that much of it was overshadowed by a good idea that was poorly executed.
In short, the music on this EP is constantly changing all while managing to remain the same and like my description, the listener may at first fail to gain some grasp on what they are hearing but after repeated listens everything comes together including my inane description, to create something that is more of a statement or a reaction toward the busy economic world we live in today. There is undoubtably a good concept hidden beneath the mess of incoherent sounds and noises that make up this release and while ‘Exchanges 1 – 4’ gets some points for its originality, its vague concept, and its daring musical traits it fails in the aspect of providing enough substance or musical progression to keep most entertained, myself included.
Overall Rating: 5.1
Favorite Track: ‘Exchange 4’
Recommended: Fennesz worshippers may find a warm spot here.