reviewed by Ben Hogwood
What’s the story?
Brighton-based producer Preston Parris has been making music since the early 2000s, and this is his third long player under the preston.outatime moniker. Mirror Radius explores the theme of being lost but from a positive viewpoint, giving rise to opportunities for discovery within the natural world.
What’s the music like?
Mirror Radius is one of those albums immediately transporting the listener from their starting position to another world. Describing the album from start to finish, Permafrost begins as the track responsible for this transportation, its icy piano tendrils extending beyond the other treble lines, with a reassuring bass pulsing away underneath. All the while in between there is the constant spray of water, more balm to the listener’s ear:
Focusing Out pans even further towards the horizon, its thick ambience surrounding the headphone listener, though this is gradually cut up into a glitchy series of fragments. Postshadowing shows Parris’ ability to find original sounds and textures, with a glinting edge to the texture suggesting wintry sunshine reflected on metal. Mirror Radius forms the central point of the album, looking forward and back with a loop suggesting steel pans and recalling some of the best Plaid material.
The busy beats of this track segue into the immensely calming Antechamber, another watery experience of cool, rippling textures, before Slitscan paints a more distracted and mysterious set of images, distorting the light and pushing slow, irregular beats into the mix. Cut The Knot is a moody beauty, its probing lines underpinned by a solid, concrete rhythm track. Finally Backmask, a bonus, shimmers in the half light, the cold textures having returned.
Does it all work?
Yes. There is an abundance of ideas in this music, some of it drawn from the Replanar album of 2020, but everything here sounds very instinctive under Parris’s guidance. The combination of ambience and foreground material is finely judged.
Is it recommended?
It is – another excellent addition to preston.outatime’s increasingly substantial body of work, which finds consistently original timbres and vistas. There is much to enjoy here.