The Lost Clock


It might be easy to assume that the distinctly focused compositional voice unveiled on Rose Bolton's The Lost Clock is the product of its creator's rigorous, almost hermetic dedication to her own particular aesthetic universe. A quick survey of Bolton's artistic career, however, reveals that her carefully sculpted approach to abstract electronica has been forged through a longstanding engagement with a wide range of intertwining creative activities. This album demonstrates both the Toronto-based composer's unique mastery of color and her gift for breathing a tactile, organic quality into synthetic landscapes. Bolton's distinctive sensibility is akin to that of a painter -- every hue has been carefully mixed so as to imbue its accompanying gesture with its own life and personality. This tangible dimensionality her electronic work assumes, however, can be traced back to the work Bolton has been doing since the 1990s. She has produced a large and varied catalogue of work that includes pieces for solo performers, chamber ensembles, orchestra, electronics, voice, and to accompany installations and films. Quasi-instrumental vitality isn't the only feature of The Lost Clock that reflects Bolton's diverse artistic practice. It can also be heard within the structural realm. Each of the collection's four tracks trace a patient unfolding and favor a certain roundness of timbre, even as finer details begin to fidget along the perimeter of the music. As with her writing for the concert hall, Bolton doesn't shy away from the evocative here, yet she doesn't pursue this poignancy through conventional, direct or quasi-narrative means. Her compositions lead the listener gradually through their impressionistic sonic scenery, but neither the path they take nor their ultimate destination are at all predictable. The ostensible gentleness each piece exudes dissolves as dissonances slowly insinuate themselves, obscure textures writhe just out of earshot, percussive lattice work materializes, or as the overall blend begins to exert a heavier weight. Her lucid-dream vision of form functions in tandem with her acute micro-level attentiveness to engender a vivid and elusive sound world that resists classification.