Album of the Day: Qasim Naqvi, “FILM”

On Film, composer Qasim Naqvi uses Moog synthesizers and other analog modular systems to simulate the mood and feeling of stark, abandoned, industrial spaces. The resulting music has both the elemental pulse of Steve Reich and the dysphoric drone of John Carpenter. Although culled from two separate projects—the feature film Tripoli Cancelled and the video installation Two Meetings and a Funeral—the songs flow together seamlessly, almost as though Film is one winding, uninterrupted landscape of tunnels that resonate darkly.

Slow builds that never culminate in any sort of climax appear and disappear throughout this ambient project. Naqvi isn’t afraid of the pregnant pause; “Sputnik” begins with a long sustained synth chord until it rests, uncomfortably, and then begins again. The glorious larghissimo of “Mannequin” builds patiently, unafraid to leave long near-silences between its otherworldly glissandos. Although Naqvi plays drums in the rock band Dawn of Midi, he forgoes the instrument completely in his solo work, finding rhythm instead through the slow pulse of pressed keys and the layered undulating of low bass notes.

Film is so cinematic it nearly renders the accompanying visuals superfluous. Naqvi deftly crafts bleak landscapes that seem to stretch far into the horizon, as well as into the most primal cavernous spaces.

-Katy Henriksen

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