“Split Series Vol. II”
(Orange Milk)

If “there’s a gap in between, there’s a gap where we meet,” according to the old Radiohead standard “Where I End and You Begin,” then Future Daughter and Matthew D. Gantt don’t seem to acknowledge it. Instead, where the two artists meet – around the ten-minute mark on their split tape for Orange Milk – there’s nary an indication that you’re not listening to one seamless whole. And in fact, if your eyes are closed and you ignore the noise your player makes as it switches direction once the tape runs out, and I guess if you conveniently forget that you’re actually listening to two artists, one on each side, you might be forgiven if you accidentally recommended this cassette to your friends as the product of a single entity. Sadly, your friends would have a real tough time figuring out which release to buy on Orange Milk’s page, though, if you went that route, because as cohesive as these nine tracks are, three are still made by Future Daughter and six by Matthew D. Gantt, so – pay more attention to what you’re doing, maybe?

Seamless. Transition. You ever watch ice melt? Water boil? One could say that although there is a certain point where the temperature rises enough to enact a change in the state of H2O, that change is so natural and one stage so perfectly follows the other that the conversion is imperceptible. We don’t see, with human eyes, the molecules adjusting their density. That’s the idea put forth by Future Daughter, whose “Solids,” “Liquids,” and “Gases” make up side A, titled “Ekphrasis,” an intense electronic sound art triptych where each piece evolves from the last, but each also has such a distinct flavor that you can’t help but marvel at their uniqueness. That’s before you even dig into the idea of ekphrasis, a textual representation of visual art, of which “Ekphrasis” might be considered a sonic manifestation – of Keith Rankin’s typically spectacular cover art, maybe? Or something else? (The trio of Future Daughter includes a credit for “visual director / live visuals.”) Heck, before today, I didn’t even realize that my reviews essentially constitute ekphrastic writing, except they’re about music instead of optical media.

After Future Daughter’s time with us ends, the gas state becomes plasma with Matthew D. Gantt, I guess, and then on to Bose-Einstein condensates by the end of his spectacular side B, “Plastics.” Plastics isn’t a state of matter, but hey, that’s OK. And if you want to consider Gantt’s contribution here a more exotic representation or at least the next logical scientific step, that’s probably OK. But as I’m precariously navigating the brink of coherence with this whole theme at this point, perhaps I should edge back from the precipice and simply state that Gantt’s six contributions, all titled “Music” but seemingly numbered at random (but probably not), continue the stylistic thread and expand upon it. In his short pieces, Gantt affirms the electronic trails blazed by his split-mates (and indeed his label), touching on vaporwave and plunderphonics at points but maintaining an individual style and approach. It’s a suite, like Future Daughter’s, that makes sense within itself and in conjunction with the entirety of the tape.

So in the end, where artists’ particular contributions begin and end make little difference once Split Series Vol. II plays out. It is a singular artifact, and one that deserves undivided and repeat listens.

--Ryan Masteller