Paysage (Infrequency Editions; CD/DL)
Being a lover of the ‘exquisite corpse’ approach of piecing together any creative form, I was delighted to see this noted in the release materials. The latest from the bounty of lavish Victoria BC is Jamie Drouin‘s forty-one minute work, Paysage, which was recorded between 2005 – 2009 using a Moog-style 5U modular synthesizer system. The artist, who also creates stylishly minimal installations and 2D works has produced many recordings in the past fifteen years, mostly for the imprint he co-founded, Infrequency Editions. His sound ranges from ambient to micro-dub (as Overcast Sound), but he’s always manages to locate a cerebral centering, forward -thinking approach with each of his works. Let’s dive in.
Opening with a wall of low-range drone that pulsates, I’m drawn to the exquisitely designed soft charcoal drawing of a triangular box unfolding. As the pulse fades into a barely audible granular state of silence, the pause is effectively a break from a quasi-intro. A growing buzz, like the sound of the undercarriage of an a large automobile revving down the road hovers in a layer of gaseous hiss. It’s minimal and elongated in a deep drawn out atmosphere. Something is turned on, sound waves emit and other very distant synths are like a hollow tube being swung in circles. I’m reminded of the work of Ryoji Ikeda in a split second, not of his fast edit-style machine electronics, but of the tension-filled tone tests and pauses. Drouin’s sound also manages to make the floor waver with the bass lows that generate this audio-quake. If you are wearing headphones in a darkened space expect full impact (recommended). And that’s just the first dozen or so minutes.
The humming ripple effect takes hold next and this is dead center of the recording, it swells and dips in brevity, in atonal bareness. There are many minor transitions here, highs and lows, but the final eight minutes are worth the wait, and their weight – yes its heavy, bloated and super low-fi. There’s an analytical approach on this record, something. He seems to be searching for something, a hybrid of time as he looks back and begins re/assessing the most finite nuances in parts/pieces of work a decade old. He seems to be making sense of something originally set aside for later.
The timbre fluctuates both in a wavy and choppy style, drawing attention to both the pulse and the staccato nature of his collage from many previous recordings. The hiss of ferrous oxide, its crackle is like hard rain heard through thick walls. It’s actually somewhat subliminal in the way in which it can feel either warm or offer up an unexpected chill, depending on the individual listener’s imagination. In this open-ended light, we each complete the picture. Though the white silences are like the in-between of an old fashioned slide show where the carousel is stuck and we only experience pure lumins, glaring, glowing, floating in space.