Classical album review

Vintage warmth in Qasim Naqvi’s electronic album Chronology’

Qasim Naqvi
Qasim Naqvi Charles Sykes/Invision/AP/Invision/AP

Qasim Naqvi


“Kindly Static,” the title of the first track on “Chronology,” Qasim Naqvi’s new album of electronic music, might well be a mantra for the entire project. The whole is suffused with the personality of its instrumentation: a vintage, analog Moog Model D synthesizer, the Minimoog of 1970s prog-rock dreams, now aged, weathered, and eccentric. (“It was like bringing some ancient thing back from the dead and having it adapt,” Naqvi has remarked.) Warm, buzzy pillows cradle stuttering, percussive puffs of breath; glacial bells are bathed in the oceanic hiss of worn circuitry. Naqvi — who also plays drums for the acoustic-ambient trio Dawn of Midi — has a sure sense of proportion: Each composition fills out its slow-moving time without any feeling of impatience or ennui. But all is within a unified mood; “Chronology” inhabits the cheerfully poignant space of a technological cutting edge worn soft. What once seemed exotic, alien, and cold is revealed as human, curious, and vulnerable. Call it machine learning.


Matthew Guerrieri

Matthew Guerrieri can be reached at matthewguerrieri@gmail.com.