You can talk about communication or you can simply communicate. I took a communication course in college, which pretty much meant we had to prepare speeches for the class. Mine was on the merits of indie rock. Seriously. I interviewed Matador’s Chris Lombardi over the phone for it. He was very gracious. I don’t think anyone in my class thought much about what I had to say. I got a B+ in the course, but I was close friends with the professor’s son. I’m not sure what came out of my mouth that day constitutes as actual communication, and I’m willing to accept that I’m a terrible choice for standing in front of people and speaking to them with any sense of coherence.
Roy Werner, aka G.S. Sultan, takes a different approach to the concept of communication. Whereas I simply blurted out as much of the English language as I could string together without real thought toward the reception it would garner, Werner considers a bit more deeply the ingredients, the medium, and the level of decoding necessary at the receiving end of his broadcasts. In doing so, he’s able to expand the possibilities of what his music can sound like and unearth new possibilities for encoding and transmission, allowing the heightened sense of the listener to perform the task of sifting through the data and compiling meaning.
As such, Werner as G.S. Sultan is more of a deconstructionist, breaking down the components of music and reassembling them into forms that skew much more abstract. Specific electronic tones crowd one another throughout, the pointillist approach on close examination revealing broad maximal ideas upon zooming out and listening with a more relaxed ear. Communication and understanding become relative depending on how the message is interpreted. Revealing the various layers of significance and employing that significance to the whole is crucial to recognizing how the edges of the puzzle fit together; or, more correctly, how the relative edges blur together, fitting not so much like puzzle pieces but combining like distinct physical entities sharing atoms at a molecular level. For example, where does “Dist Clef” really end and “Seminotative Smiler Timestamp” really begin? They’re like fingertips brushing, sharing the building blocks of matter for a brief moment.
Communication is the outward face of identity, and G.S. Sultan’s communication reveals a dreamer, a searcher, an experimenter, one who forces a particular vision of the world through the filter of recorded sound. Much like Voyager’s Golden Record – which is going to be released on vinyl to the public! (and I bet you thought Voyager was a prog band there for a second, didn’t you) – Redundancy Suite is the manifestation of experience; and although at first blush it may seem as if it resembles tractates from beyond our planet beamed back at us through SETI (or something), illuminating intelligence elsewhere, its human creation only magnifies the potentialities of human communication.
And here I type at my keyboard, dull English words combining to form dull English thoughts while the infinitely more expressive Redundancy Suite plays in the background, positively bursting with inspiration. I’m not doing it justice, instead pounding letters into a dead contraption while life blooms within the music. Who was it that said, “Writing about music is like dancing about architecture”? Here I am, dancing around the foundation of Roy Werner’s work, like the evolving ape creatures in 2001, banging bones on the ground in my attempt at communication, just like I attempted to bleat at my captive audience in college. But that’s my problem in the end. I’m just saying the same things, over and over again. Redundant. Hopefully G.S. Sultan can reach you like I haven’t been able to, then you’ll get it.