The sound of static, or white noise, is easily identifiable as being electronically generated; there is no mistaking the source for something natural. Porya Hatami’s and Lee Anthony Norris’s latest album’s first track, “Druid Liquid,” is peppered with short, heavily panned static blips. These blips are soft and slight, not creating a large enough presence to ground the track. Instead, they function in a different way, constant throughout the majority of the track's nine minutes and forty-two seconds, bouncing between the listener’s ears. They create a delicate frame for the drones and field recordings to develop. And second, they actively remind the listener that the soundscape created is a man-made one. This is not to say that someone would mistake the electronics on the track as field recordings, but Hatami has a way of curating his sounds so that they feel naturally occurring, and the panning static helps to remind the listener of the artist’s hand.
Despite this, however, Hatami and Norris do play with themes pertaining to the natural world - mainly, the compositional concept of periodicity resembling the harmonic motion of waves. A low repetitive hum with a smoothed yet distinct attack supplies the undercurrent, while the synthetic drones coalesce into the swell. The recordings of waves gently crashing against a beach, meanwhile, literalize the sense of moving water evoked by Hatami and Norris’s composition. The track becomes meditative in the way that it utilizes seemingly natural repetition of pleasing sounds while also maintaining forward momentum as the sounds progress and evolve.
The static and the low hums eventually cut out, leaving just the swirling synths and high-pitched bell-like sounds that glide down in pitch as they sustain. These sounds shimmer and glisten as the track closes out delineating a shift in compositional motion from cyclic to almost stationary. This section is the slow awakening after the trance of the first seven minutes.
While Hatami’s release, The Garden, seemed intent on pushing the listener through a detailed, full-of-life, sonic world by having the soundscapes evolve linearly rather than cyclically, “Druid Liquid,” functions as a meditative piece that slowly pulls the listener's mind around and around in circles. The musical depth of “Druid Liquid” is found in the slight alterations and variations to the recurrent patterns of its sounds, rather than the naturalism of its components, or the sheer resolution of its details.