Portland-based multi-instrumentalist producer William Selman built a catalog of minimal techno under the Warmdesk moniker in the early 00's before reinventing his practice under his given name with tapes on Hausu Mountain, Digitalis, and Plustapes. Picture of the Climates, his latest foray into the analog underbrush, contextualizes his protozoan rhythms and ultra hi-fi synthesis into increasingly dense networks of interlaced electronic output. If his previous work focused on maintaining a state of trance-like stasis across extended synth workouts flecked with subtle shifts in timbre and effects processing, then the compositions that constitute Climates evolve over marked upheavals of song structure and dynamics. Selman's "modular dub" performance tactics, conveyed in surges of delay and reverb-based spatial manipulation, transmute his percussion patterns into spiraling afterimages of their original forms. Drifting interludes separate swathes of polyrhythmic development, sketching out diverse geographic terrains in the wide expanse of the stereo spread.
William Selman's developed senses of drama and melody result in sinuous sessions whose swells and rarefactions entertain equally over the course of a casual ambient zone-out or a close listen with the volume knob cranked to its limit. His vocabulary of fine-grain synth tones and meditative percussion recalls the electro-acoustic experiments of Jon Hassell and Brian Eno, as glimpsed through the lens of contemporary modular maestros like Keith Fullerton Whitman or M. Geddes Gengras. "Waiting is a Strange Country" kicks off Picture of the Climates with a gritty synth moan that hangs in the ether until inklings of rhythm creep into the mix, giving way to a thick lattice of tom thumps tuned into a state of busy consonance. Pieces like "Dayparting" and "Extension of the Domain of Interdependence" compress their swift arcs of activity into frameworks of near pop-friendly brevity. "Morse Code Hospital" augments its percolating beats with moaning sawtooth waves and beeps akin to the tones of a telephone number pad. The title track winds through the album's most varied sonic territories: Cluster-like mid-range arpeggios; curtains of chordal sustain; volleys of tabla-like beats; a bone-thick bassline that galvanizes the track into its churning upward trajectory.