A New York City native, and founder/label manager for the Anticipate and Microcosm labels, Ezekiel Honig concentrates on his idiosyncratic brand of emotively warm electronic-acoustic music. Using the loop as more of a tool than a rule, Honig paints outside the lines, nestling into a comfortable, shared space between muted techno, melodic, event-driven ambient, textural downtempo and slowmotion house - using them as reference points from which to stray, rather than as steadfast frameworks. Drawing on the rich history of musique concrete, Honig looks to incorporate a material nature into his music by imbuing it with a host of field recording/found-sound sources in the search for a balance between digital software innovation and the physicality of the world around us. Using the sounds of plastic, metal, wood and air in collaboration with Rhodes, guitar, horns, piano and other instrumental origins, his music is one of contrast and contradiction, combining minimal, abstract tendencies with a core of timeless harmonics - pairing inviting, fuzzy chords with clunky and dirty "mishaps."
Ezekiel Honig - Surfaces of a Broken Marching Band - Anticipate 006
released October 2008 - CD / digital
Further developing his musique concrete influenced compositional procedure of giving emphasis to the sounds of everyday life, Honig constructs his music out of an almost incidental assembly of materials, editing and processing them into a whole which adopts the shards as if they always belonged. The low hum of a pad and ground-skimming percussion noise play off brightly distended piano chords, thick, wheezing horns, and widespread constellations of re-pitched guitar. Playing with looping and lateral progressions alike, Honig subtly hints at his background, while utilizing a broader palette of instrumentation than on his past releases.
Softly chugging 4/4 rhythms barely nod towards muted slow-motion techno, while reworked structures retain his characteristically warm, textured sound. In this manner he delves into electro-acoustics with a sensibility that includes elements of clearly defined genres, while allowing those definitions to quickly dissipate. These varied approaches and sources allow for the building of a constant tension between an intrinsic affinity for humid melodies and darker tonal shades, congealing into tracks which feel simultaneously minimal and dense, leaving one to pick at the layers while acknowledging them as a single sound.
This music is imbued with an intimacy created by opening the spectrum to include sounds from crowded parties in cavernous spaces, subway stations, the interiors of an airliner and other geographic departures. When in the context of music which feels so close-up, these sounds create a contrast to the at-homeness which Honig usually plays on, and this proximity gives them more weight, as the harmonics of melodic fragments and location-based recordings rummage through and across each other.
As the title suggests, the album is visualized as a loosely composed band that has fallen apart and been puzzled back together, with careful attention paid to the background details, which are brought as much to the forefront as any instrumental piece. Rather than a rhythm section taking a strict lead, it seemingly plays backbeat as it brushes up against the rattle of metal, wood and plastic from which it happens to be constructed. In this manner, Honig inspects the surfaces that were previously hidden - the sounds that required breaking in order to exist.