Two On Elevator Bath

Rick Reed
Elevator Bath

Jim Haynes
Elevator Bath

Rick Reed’s music has an ineluctability that renders it instantly indispensable, a necessary reminder of the place where we all come from, known by no-one, probably non-existent. No surprise then that these tracks were originally conceived as soundtracks to visuals, by Ken Jacobs and Fred Worden respectively, for giving sonic abstraction a pictorial element can be a method of exorcising remote fears while coming to terms with our infinite ignorance, only heightened by our presumption of being “superior”. The first of these two transcendental enigmas generated, according to the press release, by an EMS Synthi A, a couple of sine wave generators and a shortwave radio, “Dreamz” is built upon a series of wavering drones whose resonant allure acts on the psyche like a snake charming its charmer; convinced we’ve grasped what’s going on after a few minutes, we’re sucked in by a vortex of inexplicable doubts, sounds suggesting an amalgam of darkness and luminescence rather than physical phenomena. “Blue Polz” starts like an advanced scientific investigation of synthesized emissions, but things calm down with the introduction of suspended electronic tones, even if the stability still contains a good measure of mystery. The occasional vinyl pop ‘n’ crackle – it’s a limited edition (260) picture disc, folks – is the only drawback; otherwise, gorgeous stuff all the way.

Jim Haynes’ Eraldus/Eravaldus is also a picture disc adorned with the author’s treated photographs. Haynes’ penchant for “rusting things” is once again commendably evident in music derived from a series of field recordings, “agitated objects and amplified spaces”. Words of praise are pointless when dealing with aural art of such subtlety and sensitivity; this is for connoisseurs. Unlikely to cause an instant enthusiastic reaction, it implants its memory-carving cells little by little, until the listener is progressively swallowed up in shades of husky bewitchment. The mixture of resounding metallic aura and rumbling menace is a trademark of this San Francisco-based soundscaper, who camouflages any sentimental implications under a muddy crust of impenetrability and makes but extremely rare concessions to hallucinatory expressivity. But Haynes is modifying concrete sounds – his sources include, amongst other things, a lighthouse, wind-whipped high tension wires and a pile of sand – and their textures remain palpable throughout, leaving a sonic residue like the white-salt patina that sticks on the skin when sea-water has dried. A scarcely visible stimulus that nevertheless makes us feel alive and willing to resume fighting while everything else seems to crumble. No apparent earthly future, an inestimable sheen waiting for our awareness. Somewhere.


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