Releasing their debut album on esoteric ambient label Daisart, picnic’s two anonymous members are almost antipodal in their geographical home-bases: one is in Kansas City, the other in Melbourne (for those interested, Kansas’ true antipode is Port-aux-Français in the French Antarctic Islands, while Melbourne’s is Lajes das Flores in the Azores). We have all experienced distance recently, but this project offers a clear example of how we can always feel connection through the magic of the digital and sonic. Both viral and vibrational phenomena show us that we are almost insidiously linked on a granular and molecular level, and one can’t help thinking that picnic’s record responds to this.
Before pressing play you see the artwork: a bleeding, fuzzy scene of coloured patterns that resemble both tiny, microbiological formations or heat-sensitive imagery in the macro. Perhaps also a picnic blanket pattern to rest on? Listening, you discover that it’s essentially a glitch record recalling the not-lo-fi cracklings of Pole, The Caretaker and Jan Jelinek. Our selection is a remix by ambient maestro Huerco S., who makes a welcome return to our cochlears after a couple of years absence – though it seems like just yesterday when he was releasing that legendary gilded album for Proibito. His rumbling rework sits alongside other soft-touch versions from micro house giant Dntel, DJ Paradise, AKA Special Guest DJ, and expert electroacoustic musician, The Humble Bee.
This aesthetic hasn’t been hugely trendy of late (certainly, I thought Dntel hadn’t done anything since the early ’00s) but its comforting graininess and ASMR-effect high-end is totally apposite. In its early-morning drones, delicate jangling and sibilant shuffling, this record is a dreamy walk – and sit – in the park for deep listeners with enveloping headphones. And, like those special phone calls where the expanse somehow brings you closer, this record draws the whole being of producer and receiver into touching distance.
picnic is out February 11th on Daisart | Buy it here