There’s more than one way to immerse yourself in sound, and electronic musician Byron Westbrook seems to be working his way through as many options as he can. He’s run the soundboard for Phill Niblock, the loudest man in minimalism; under the name Corridors, he’s conducted concerts for absent instruments that involved audience members passing speakers and handheld playback devices around the performance space; and his previous solo LP, Distortion Hue, contains a series of pithy, blown-out assaults.
Mirror Views proposes yet another approach, one rooted in a long-standing aspect of Westbrook’s work that hasn’t previously made it onto a recording. He’s been making sound and light installations for years, and this sprawling, 72-minute CD repurposes material from one that he created for Brooklyn art space Issue Project Room in 2017. Each of its four tracks includes outdoor field recordings and synthesized sounds that overtly mimic or subtly reference various environments, which Westbrook has arranged in configurations that play up their commonalities as well as their incongruities. Sometimes elements compete from either side of the stereo field, and at other times they’re stacked up in sonic space so that listening closely to one draws you into another. During one such passage in “Mirror View (First Contact),” the first thing you hear is a pulsing, machinelike hum, though lurking behind it are sequences of artificial surf, bustling crowds, and something that just might be a foghorn. What initially feels like an invitation to drift turns out to be a deep dive into a liminal sea of sound.
Mirror Views is available from Ash International.