The latest from Arizonian Jeph Jerman comes in three formats, you can download this on Bandcamp, or you collect wither the hand-numbered standard edition CD or the special edition CD which comes in a neat cardboard packing – only 50 of these, and each one slightly different. The title infers patterned, overlapping edges, and that’s what he delivers here. Jerman takes us on a forty-two minute journey through Arizona’s Verde River Valley where you will encounter bees, siphoned waterways, and other minimal encrusted overturned earthen objects. Made with a digital recorder and an old tape machine you can hear pops and hiss almost mimicking similar sounds in the wild. Cricket-like noises sound like Morse code in their amplified form.
In one moment these field recordings sound playful, then it’s a bit unconscious, and with the detachment of direct sensory exposure makes this a wild guessing game of place and goings-on. But you are right there, in the pocket of the explorer, breaking branches, with solid steps through a field of sorts, some sounds are watery, others dry. The actions are layered, and all the fuss is made with metal, wood and natural materials. As most know a desert is usually a dry place, with plenty exposure tot he open light, the Sun having done its harshest wrath, so beyond the insect songs one can imagine a cloud of dust in the wake of the frenzied toiling away about sixteen minutes in where the hurried pace intensifies over mountainous regions.
A giant aerated gust blows through, shaking, pulsing, constant – most anything in its wake. Eventually it sounds like a portable generator buzzing away. Small mechanical tape sounds only occasionally dot this otherwise ominous atmosphere. This is followed by the reverberations from inside some kind of metal drum, being knocked and struck from inside and out, partly obfuscated. When Abraham Lincoln uttered the phrase “action speak louder than words” it was a testament to these such recorded things – to the adherence of ones personal unbroken, unspoken constitution. Wind causing the rattle of chain link fence, and other anonymous creaking leads to an open valley of layered dragging and other wild flapping in open air. The clamor is rustic and randomized by nature, as un/intended with man-made objects planted on its surface. The concept of layers if literal and figurative throughout, but its in the last six or so minutes that the proverbial cat loosens its way out of the bag. The p/r tells us that this is a series of old fences and stock tanks emitting these metallic squiggles, at times it sounds like an antique dry cleaner at work on machines long past their prime, but it’s when Jerman plays on the ranges of what’s audible, within and beyond range, that the belly of this beast is revealed. It’s all in the buzz and circumstance.