Broken Harbour – The Geometry of Shadows (2012)

A wave of bracing yet sometimes static sound, Broken Harbour’s The Geometry of Shadows picks up where the heft of his previous work Gramophone Transmissions left off. The Canadian musician also known as Blake Gibson has once again composed a piece of art that is engrossing and involving with each passing moment.

One of the things that has always fascinated me about Broken Harbour has been his tendency to gestate his work until the moment is right for release. Gramophone Transmissions followed this path, with Gibson recording the music and letting it simmer for some time before releasing it on record. The Geometry of Shadows has a similar process behind it.

This time around, the music is synth-based. Gibson recorded the original material for an album called Ansible in late 2009. He took 14 months off from recording, then re-emerged to rework and re-record the material over a nine-month period. By that point, no trace of the original material was left and Ansible had evolved into the work known as The Geometry of Shadows.

The new recording deals in the chemistry of light and darkness, but some of Ansible’s essence still flows through.

Meant for consumption in one hour-long sitting, The Geometry of Shadows is about the contrasts between light and darkness and the past and the future. The record lives in those spaces between, but it also spurs thought about what’s coming and what’s been. It’s hard to imagine gathering such substance out of what could be on the surface alone, which is why Gibson’s material insistently pushes us deeper.

There are five pieces to The Geometry of Shadows, but it’s almost impossible to describe each individually. From the second “Superluminal” arcs into the headphones, filling space with ether and acuity, it’s apparent that Broken Harbour is once again calling to a bottomless experience.

From the lingering title track, presumably erring on the darker side of caution, to the near peace of “Ansible,” The Geometry of Shadows is a complete record in every sense of the term. It begs clever listening, but it also functions as a surge of obscurity and sun. It cloaks as it shelters, proving once more that Broken Harbour’s ambient “transmissions” deserve to be heard far and wide.

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Jordan Richardson

Jordan Richardson is a Canadian freelance writer and ne'er-do-well. He also contributes to his own Canadian Cinephile and Canadian Audiophile websites. Contact Something Else! Reviews at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.