What is it that distinguishes sound from music? Believe it or not, I’d never sought out the definition of “music” before. The Oxford English Dictionary uses “beauty” in its description, so I guess music is made in the ears of its listener. I’m not trying to imply that Flourescent Grey’s album isn’t music, but it certainly challenges our instinctual notions more so than, say, Mozart or the Beatles do. Certainly, Lying on the Floor… contains organized sounds and, occasionally, some beats. Robbie Martin, the man behind these spare, quiet, creepy scrapings, whirs, taps, and mechanical digestive noises, explains the processes which resulted in his songs (as I guess we’ll call them), and his approach is most closely aligned with the musique concrète composers of the mid-20th century, even if the output of his digital manipulations (“tempo grid” and “spectral analysis” are two terms found in the liner notes) resembles the work of Matmos more so than any other artist. While the CD doesn’t evoke the noir humor of its title, the track “Cobweb Cave Pt. 1” is spot-on. Mostly, regardless of name, Martin’s works here are successful, even if their “beauty” is not readily accessible. So, are the sounds produced by Flourescent Grey music? To this fan of Autechre and Stockhausen, the answer is yes. Your ears may not agree. But, for those seeking a glitchy, claustrophobic aural adventure (the audio equivalent of spelunking with spiders), Lying on the Floor… awaits.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work. We are a wholly independent, women-owned, small company. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing, challenging times where costs have risen and advertising has dropped precipitously. PopMatters needs your help to keep publishing. Thank you.