Jon Unger | Memory Indicator
Flavien Gillié | Rituels Domestiques
A.F. Jones | for Eschrichtiidae (omniana)
Three new short-form ambient releases on the beloved (+ scarce) 3″ CDR format from the Belgian label Taâlem. All are limited in small editions.
From Jon Unger comes two pieces that run a total of just over twenty minutes, combining field recordings with electronics and guitar/pedals. Memory Indicator opens with No Dominion, a deep drone work with a burring bottom end reverb. As the murky gray lifts momentarily you will witness a rising harmony through the chasm of silty abstraction. The writhing synths are almost crying out through the hiss and other circumstance. Over the course the chord structure breaks off into small flourishes, like small broken branches grasping for life. The pedaling is ethereal and at times erupting into an alarm just before what appears to be something quite volcanic. Hum, on the other hand, engages the ear with a vaporous strum. Far warmer than its counterpart this piece dazzles in its stripped down simplicity, tickling the ear with a ghostly atmosphere of microsound and a restrained arch of chordal management. Like a butterfly cracking slowly from the cocoon this operates on its own time.
Le Phonographe en Particulier is the first of three tracks on this recording from Brussels-based Flavien Gillié and Rituels Domestiques is fueled by drone and stretched melodies. It feels as though time has been altered, at a bit of an impasse, standing almost still here as if stuck within a loop. The wave-like design of Réaccordage, however, flips that on its end, offering a striking toy-like melody with this slithering (and slightly foreboding) rhythm. It’s like dreaming of your childhood when the ice cream man would ring his bell through the neighborhood vying for the attention of your sweet tooth, all awash in waves and windy effects that move this forward. This mix here is vivid, alive, yet resists just short of becoming overtly slick. Just add running water, and this is an elusive visit to the shore. The clang of chunky chimes brings a certain balance towards the end, and now you drop into the hive-like harmony of Souen. And the piece rides this levitating drone throughout the nearly six minute piece, changing so slightly in tone it is barely audible, but it plays like a long curve. At fadeout this deflates like a large balloon.
Recently I had reviewed a work by A.F. Jones on Unfathomless and this reminds me, again, of sense of place (the Pacific Northwest to be exact) and when you plug the title into Google Maps, you indeed get the same area where he lives and works: 48°06’48″n 122°45’19″w. for Eschrichtiidae (omniana) is a singular work just over seventeen minutes in length infused by a watery runoff upon a tine roof or shed of some sort. That along with some muffled actions make for balancing the in/organic here. The buoyant patter of the rain is like a continuous, splattered open percussion and once it dies down after several minutes we are left with an open circuit, like gaseous air. Jones’ extremely minimalist composition of field recordings captures something altogether of Mother Nature, and as the great philosopher Emmanuel Levinas quoted ‘the other’. This was actually captured partly underwater via hydrophones and condensers upon a ferry in the waters of the Puget Sound. He managed to capture the drop of an anchor and the wake of reverb within low-lying undercurrents. The effect is stimulating and hydro-sonic.