Touch

He is mostly unsung and not overly prolific – his previous Iris dates from 2004 – but Rosy Parlane is one of the kingpins of slowly uncoiling, constantly changing drone music whose purposefulness is directly proportional to its smothering beauty. Divided into three movements, Jessamine was composed between 2004 and 2006, and features important contributions on the guitar front from Tetuzi Akiyama, Lasse Marhaug, Anthony Guerra, Michael Morley, Donald McPherson, Matthew Hyland, David Mitchell, Stefan Neville and Campbell Kneale. In addition, Marcel Bear designed and built “amplified sawblade” and “shimsaws” (and also plays the latter in the first section). Parlane recorded the tracks using a plethora of electric and acoustic instruments, bowed metals, radio, computer and field recordings, masterfully assembling and layering his sounds to create textures that range from organic to post-nuclear. After the leaden quasi-consonant sky evoked by the dirty electric mantra that is “Part One”, listening to “Part Two” made me think of a fenced-off radioactive area attacked by sonorous weapons of destruction which we’re forced to watch in awe. Especially here and in the third movement, whose apex is a monstrous, hypnotizing wall of distorted guitars, Parlane shows his ability to create mind-numbing atmospheres without resorting to fancy tricks; a consistent framing “tonality” is established, but it’s what happens inside the frames that counts – and that includes extraneous noise, electrostatics, subtle deviations. Overall, the album’s most alluring feature is its sense of imminence, of waiting for an event that might or might not happen. During this uneasy anticipation of what’s still to come, various paths to possible harmonic wholeness are glimpsed; the onus of foreseeing and understanding the right ones falls on us. It took more than two years, but Jessamine was well worth the wait.

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