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Jeremy Bible & Jason Henry - Vector (album preview)

Experimedia with Scup on August 02, 2011 16:16

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    A trio of new releases from Experimedia demonstrates that Jeremy Bible & Jason Henry are alive and well, and making great work as usual. Housed in very extravagant fold out packaging with beautifully photographed natural elements such as burnt wood, leaves, mould etc, they more than hint at the quality of the releases contained within. Also included in the trio of releases is a new work from Illusion of Safety, a group that should need no introduction to 40 somethings like myself, who invested a lot of time and energy seeking out IOS releases many years ago in what would arguably have been their heyday. Dan Burkes project resurfaces in the form of The Need to Now , a 7 tracker that does not dissappoint these ears, having not heard their more recent materials, this was a welcome opportunity to experience IOSs distempered sampling, and edgy, tightly wound atmospherics. IOS have distilled their overall sound further since I last heard them, leaving yawning chasms of near silence to add drama and anticipation, allowing their taut, aqueous ambiences to swirl around sharply focussed field recordings and organic elements. Once again, IOS demonstrate a mastery of the medium in a welcome comeback. Next up is Vector, a fine release from Messrs Bible and Henry specialising in stripped bare atmospherica, and discrete washes of near oceanic sound draped with granular surface textures. Pieces like fndt take an oblique approach, where the sounds of what appear to be jungle or forest ambiences are interleaved with oddly out of kilter sonic presences, somewhere between urban gamelan, and ritualistic chanting moving in and out of focus. The overall recording technique is slightly tainted, like oxidised metals, grating and grinding against each other, leaving a trail of dusts and shavings. In fact, the ensuing tracks, flck2? and rtn have a similar feel, creating shimmering, dusty trails, that feel somehow unearthly and disjointed, yet holding the attention all the while.Closing track Imp, once again uses organic sampling to fuel auditory out of body experiences with razor sharp sampling wrapped around an eerie piano or keyboard central theme, a dreamy, hazy closure to the whole proceedings. Next up is Shpwrck from Bible and Henry, with trademark titling pared down to the barely discernible, leaving a measure of interpretation to the auditor. Once again, the pairing fuse heady organic field recording with strange, angular atmospheres, that remind me of some of the early recordings on the UKs EM:T label, back in the dayin the main, these are eerie and spacious works, conjuring dark, but not altogether uncomfortable imagery, infused with the spirit of Dada, being a close cousin of musique concret perhaps, or some of the early works of Pierre Schaefer at times. Pieces like sphotnblp are pure experimentalism, using light and space to perpetrate areas of wondrous tonalism. The duos overall approach is certainly a breath of fresh air, as their canvas is littered with creative and original solutions, defying any obvious genre (always a good thing in my book), and creating a language all of their own. These three releases come with my highest recommendation, and in the words of Bible and Henry excllnt. BGN

    Vector, Shpwrck, and Marker are naturally complementary recordings from Ohio-based sound artists Jeremy Bible and Jason Henry that fuse found, acoustic, and electronic sounds into abstract material of pointedly evocative design. The Experimedia releases are distinctive on a visual level too, with the releases' discs tucked away in tall, three-panel packages whose photographic imagery parallels the duo's sonic approach by magnifying natural imagery to degrees of near-abstraction (leaves on Vector, charred wood on Shpwrck); though more conventional in dimensional terms, Marker's cover imagery is similar in tone to the Experimedia packages. The concept even extends to the releases' allusive and distancing song titles (e.g., Alska, Rtn, Vctr, "Glacr"). Four of Vector's six pieces are in the twelve-to-fifteen-minute range, so the material has ample opportunity to develop. Apparently, acoustic sounds such as piano, cello and voices comprise part of Vector's sonic palette but, true to genre form, the processing manipulations are so thorough they lessen the recognizability of said elements. The gloomy dreamscape Alska wends through Philip Jeck territory when sounds of gouged vinyl and industrial noise loop incessantly alongside phantom winds and sheets of distorted noise. It's followed by Fndt, an industrial mass of metallic, static-soaked rumble that writhes and heaves for a queasy fifteen minutes, and Flck2, where waves crash through layers of granular grit prior to the emergence of aviary chatter, traffic sounds, and percussive knocking. Multi-tiered waves crest and fall throughout Rtn, after which Vector grows increasingly nightmarish as it works through the brief Vctr and convulsive machine noise of Lmp. Shpwrck is not only broader in its stylistic range but, in some respects, the easier listen of the two. Though three pieces still exceed the ten-minute mark, half are under eight minutes and, while there's no diminishment of abstract character, the overall sound design is sometimes less dense and therefore easier on the ears. The framing pieces, Shpwrck1 and Shpwrck2, suggest that the recording would make a natural companion to Mesoscaphe, the recent work by Mathieu Ruhlmann and Celer whose nautical focus is the thirty-day 1969 Gulf Stream voyage of the Ben Franklin submarine. One would expect Shpwrck to sound darker by comparison, given the violent fate intimated by the title, but in fact only parts of it are bleak in spirit. The two Shpwrck tracks are, in fact, rather peaceful settings of muffled tonal drift, with rustling percussive clatter a constant companion to foghorn-like tones that pierce the shadowy haze. Blustery trumpet smears in Dstromsh recall Toshinori Kondo's playing on Paul Schutze + Phantom City's Site Anubis, and the track itself is an apocalyptic nightscape that would sound perfectly at home on Schutze's recording. Elsewhere, crowd chatter humanizes the gloomscapes Yetisltk and Yetiatk while Sphotnblp, Luupn, and Cldstrct concentrate on tinkling bell tones, reverb-heavy piano, and curdling string atmospheres respectively. Marker is very much sonically in keeping with the other two, despite the fact that it's issued on Gruenrekorder, a label more known for its field recordings output than experimental electronic music-making. Much like Vector, the hour-long Marker features four extended settings (fourteen minutes apiece) and a shorter outro. As before, field elements (e.g., children's voices, radio talk show conversations) and natural sounds (e.g., cymbal percussion) swim in thick electronic baths amidst alien noises of unidentifiable character. The release rarely resembles music of any conventional kind and is clearly geared towards the listener weaned on heavily abstracted soundscaping. The industrial soundscaping of Ast unfolds in a queasy ebb-and-flow that feels akin to a turbulent dream-state, after which phantoms drift through an industrial wasteland in Fragmnt. The recording's finest moment arrives when Bible and Henry navigate vast expanses of frozen tundra during the vaporous epic Glacr, a slowly heaving mass of ambient cloud formations whose immensity overshadows all that's come before. The tranquil closer Indnt is almost as appealing, despite being the complete opposite of Glacr in so many ways. Even so, ending the album with gentle guitar shadings and restrained atmospheric textures (including a re-appearance of the earlier talk show snippets) is a smart move on the creators' part given that it's the last impression the listener takes away when the recording's done. File all three releases under immersive headphones listening. -October 2008

    Released by: Experimedia
    Release/catalogue number: expcd003

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