At a time in history where we are constantly warned about shortening attention spans and the onslaught of information -- videos, pictures, sounds -- being too much for the human nervous system to withstand long-term, Spanish label Modern Obscure Music asks the logical next question: can one create a substantial work of art that lasts only 30 seconds?
The imprint asks a host of genre-crossing multimedia experimentalists to produce a work according to this strict brief — and the cohort prove just how stimulating creative limitations can be. What’s staggering about PRSNT is the diversity of exciting ideas at work. We begin with a luscious synthesised curtain-raise from the legendary Laurie Spiegel, and a subsequent melding of an electronic-ancient ritual scale from label boss Pedro Vian and Pierre Bastien. Meanwhile, Lyra Pramuk, Chassol and Pascal Comelade emulate the warmth and urgency of vintage video game bleep-bloops on their compositions, imprinting in the brain some sly earworms of melody. Lafawndah generates a head-spinning wealth of club atmospherics into a tiny nook of time, while a closing statement from Ryuichi Sakamoto simply plays nothing more than a pure sound-void with his 30 seconds of silence.
A stimulating experiment that certainly pays off, PRSNT is an enthralling reaction to the modern plight of having too little time and too much to do.