There’s a rare point at which music becomes a monolith. Zimoun’s three-hour Guitar Studies ventures into that territory and in his description of the recording process, the scope becomes even bigger. There are no loops on Guitar Studies. “For each layer in each piece, I recorded whatever I was exploring over the whole period of about an hour,” he explains in the album description, and because of that approach, each of these hour-long pieces become all-encompassing, oscillating sonic meditations.
Guitar Studies is a great example of an elaborate conceptual framework meeting persistent listenability. There’s a massive repetitive scope here, but since Zimoun is playing everything ‘live’ without looping mechanisms, there are subtle shifts and slight differences in the evolution of each piece. In a shallow way, one could say that not much happens on each of these tracks, but that misses the intricate scope of Guitar Studies entirely.
Through a multitude of techniques, Zimoun becomes a sculptor shaping these massive explorations into sprawling, evocative landscapes. All three of these studies have their own gravity. “I” is weighed down, subterranean. Gears churn below the surface like an ancient engine carving out stone civilizations and imbuing the air with archaic dust. Resonance is a monument to the caverns carved out across millennia. The pressure generated through subtle EQ shifts and refined aural textures becomes simultaneously oppressive and cocoon-like.
“II” is lighter in timbre, moving in alternating angles as sound reflects across a scratched-up glossy surface. There’s an unexpected apprehension in the gentle, hiss-lade strums and pensive tremolos. It’s as though Zimoun is building toward a distant horror even though he’s unsure what actually lies ahead. Where this unease saturates “II,” “III” floats through a stream of aerial wisps as though the weight has lifted.
The microstructures generated from the countless layers of exploratory guitar drone throughout Guitar Studies are hypnotizing. Whether this music is intended to be meditative or not, Zimoun’s compositions draw us in with their tonal arrangements and buried melodies. The microstructures are infinite and beguiling. His myriad of approaches and methods of playing guitar on Guitar Studies is fascinating, but it’s the sound that ultimately matters. From the opening paces, it’s music I want to focus in on and hear. Once that hook is in, though, the world widens and we lose ourselves in these massive sound sculptures. Three hours pass like it’s nothing.