Recorded at López’ suggestion during the downtime of a studio session in Paris in November 2017, the album is named after Galileo Galilei’s astronomical treatise (1610). According to Guy, Lopez’ drums and cymbals prompted thoughts of a metaphorical planetary system, with the studio microphones acting like a telescope, “bringing details of our own musical cosmos into sharp definition, illuminating the sometimes craggy terrain of our deliberations, but also observing the more spacious musical topography”. The reference to scale is significant; what counts as large or small, surface or detail being largely dependent on perspective and context. These thirteen relatively brief episodes reveal a musical universe contracting in size and expanding in particularity: studies in microscopic activity rendered macroscopic where any element, however small, can become central.
The duo charts this space in a variety of forms. López’ percussion consists primarily of cymbal washes, deep pulses, snare rolls and a ticking hi-hat, a measured backdrop as Guy picks and saws his way into Lilliputian sound worlds, full of refined textures and subtle gradations. In ‘Gravitation’ his bass focuses on tiny scrapes, bounces and shivers, rising above throbbing drums then dragged down again. ‘Particle Waves’ opens out a knotty, modulated landscape whereas ‘Time Loop’ consists of minuscule movements, barely articulated twinges, thrums and taps. ‘Sigma Orionis’ moves from frosty bowed harmonics to increasingly elaborate pizzicato arabesques and ‘Sundrum’ is a succession of slow-motion shockwaves initiated by López’ percussive shudders, as if offering an exploded view, paused and rotated as a three-dimensional structure. By way of contrast, in the following ‘Expansion’ Guy skims and flickers creating a stream of diaphanous vapour. ‘Occam’s Razor’ – the medieval philosopher’s famous maxim of ontological parsimony, that entities should not be multiplied without necessity – is suitably pared-down to essentials, with plucked arpeggiated chords spread across different registers, accompanied by simple brushes. ‘Extraterrestrial’ stands out as a meditative interlude, its drifting Baroque harmonies referencing another of Guy’s musical passions.