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Adam Pacione’s finely crafted, deeply affecting drone work has found its place in the upper echelon of modern ambient artistry. Once heard, the gorgeous fluidity of his music is instantly recognizable.
Now, an absolutely crucial addition to Pacione’s relatively slim oeuvre is here, offering more than four hours of aural color and visual sound from a master of the medium. “Any Way, Shape, or Form,” a stunning 4CD box set, compiles all the material from Pacione’s “Still Life” series of 3″ CDRs, originally offered via monthly subscription throughout 2009 and now long out of print. The late night ambient/drone sessions in this set were pulled from recordings made from 1999-2009, many of which originally served as soundtracks to Pacione’s photography exhibitions in galleries throughout Texas. These recordings have been meticulously remastered and two previously unreleased tracks from this period have been added, resulting in an absolute must-have for aficionados of haunting, textural, electronic music.
Pacione’s work largely centers around early Portastudio tape loop experiments, synthesizers, samples, and processed field recordings that gradually decompress to form a hypnotic serenade of becalmed tones. After years of experimentation, his first releases appeared in 2004, leading up to his proper debut album, “Sisyphus,” a year later. By this time, Pacione’s name was becoming synonymous with lush, atmospheric sonances of the highest caliber. His reputation strengthened even more with his next full-length, 2007’s masterful “From Stills to Motion,” which fully delivered on the promise of his earlier efforts. Since then, Pacione has stayed active with performances and recordings (see 2020’s excellent digital-only “Mâché”). His physical output has been sparse over the last decade or so, however, and copies of the earlier releases are now quite scarce. “Any Way, Shape, or Form” then is particularly essential in making this vital section of Pacione’s discography widely available for the first time.
The sixteen tracks included here are mostly long-form pieces: contemplative soundscapes evolving at a deliberate pace. There is an inherent spaciousness in these works; sounds are free to move and breathe as they shift between tension and tranquility. These extended audial ruminations allow Pacione to examine and subtly emphasize the details of each arrangement. And these details have been brought into sharp focus by the rigorous mastering job executed by renowned sound artist Alex Keller: a drifting haze sharply underscored by a biting frost.
In addition to the peerless audio in this set is a 20-page booklet reproducing all of Pacione’s photography from the original CDRs as well as several previously unpublished images. These truly are the visual equivalents of his recordings: otherworldly snapshots of a stylized vision of nature, neither artificial nor entirely organic but a harmonious amalgamation. These rich photographs are somehow both crisply intricate and dreamily impressionistic: the ideal accompaniment for Pacione’s evocative sound, perfectly rounding out his world-building.
This beautiful artefact is simply a rare pleasure for the senses. And a welcome reintroduction to Adam Pacione’s singular aesthetic. A treasure not to be missed.