Ezekiel Honig

Scattered Practices (Microcosm Music)

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5

It’s not every day that an album references a mid-20th-century Jesuit cultural theorist—but Ezekiel Honig, the electronic composer and performer who helms the Microcosm Music label, is not your everyday artist. The liner notes on his second solo LP, Scattered Practices, cite Michel de Certeau, who mused on the ways in which people transform common experiences—interacting with material objects, interpreting language and the like—from the universal to the personal. In Honig’s case, that means manipulating found sounds into barely recognizable tones, then melding them to warm Rhodes piano and barely-there percussion. Rather than being abstract and heady, though, Scattered Practices is a dreamlike, inviting and charming work.

Honig’s debut album, 2004’s People, Places and Things, roamed the same softly ambient territory, but Scattered Practices is even more intimate, coming off as a wordless universal lullaby for the electronic age. The languid pace, microscopic melodies, simple heartbeatlike rhythms and occasional use of drone are both riveting and soothing, begging to be listened to attentively but, at the same time, gently caressing the listener into a contemplative state of Zen. And despite the minimalist trapping, the album is surprisingly lush: “Fractures & Fissures (Part 2),” for instance, consists of only two chords, overlaid with a plaintive three-note melody, a bit of crackle and a touch of background hum. But, as with the rest of Scattered Melodies, that’s more than enough to evoke a wealth of feeling. — Bruce Tantum