25.4.11

Kassel Jaeger 'Lignes d'erre & Randons' + Revenant 'Zeltini' (Unfathomless, 2010/11)

Parisian sound artist Kassel Jaeger presents a rather compelling seven tracks on Lignes d'erre & Randons that surf between hewn field recordings and rarified electronics. Joe Colley, Fennesz, and Tarab come to mind on many occasions, but as these artists stick to their respective styles, Jaeger is somehow able to take from all of them to create his (or her) own ecology of sound (not to say that these guys are even on Jaeger's radar, stylistically I just see parallels).

Jaeger shrouds these tracks with an air of mystery as the liner only hints at sources and locations. Insects, rivers, and pipelines are mentioned, and if one pays close enough attention some of these can be revealed, such as on Dispersion Des Limbes, with its weather beaten backdrop of wind and rain that eventually gives way to a wash of schizophrenic activity, or the closer Pneuma, that distinctly sounds like wind resonating through a pipeline. Other tracks, like the fantastic Blank Pyramid, with its repetition of some unknown ghostly voice, remain a complete mystery to me, and are all the better for it. Lignes d'erre & Randons is a remarkable blending of styles and is yet another great production from Daniel Crokaert at Unfathomless.

Somewhat of a supergroup of phongraphers collaborating on this one, including John Grzinich, Felicity Mangan, Kaspars Kalninsh, Eamon Sprod, and Maksims Shentelevs. I've seen other names as part of "Revenant" in the past that have included artists like Hitoshi Kojo and Patrick McGinley. Revenant is an on-going project focusing on site specific acoustic actions. All recorded sounds originate from found materials located in-situ and through performer interactions with particular spaces.

Acting as the local for this recording was Zeltini, a former Soviet military base located in a forest in Latvia. As the sun's light was growing dim the Revenant group ventured into one of the base's abandoned bunkers to feel and hear their way through an hour long improvisation. On its own, Zeltini isn't a particularly captivating work. However, in understanding the concept, constraints, and context of the recording, it does stand as quite impressive, particularly in the groups deftness in extrapolating fine drones and consistent textures through only the use of found material, not to mention their sublime translation of depth in this large space. To my surprise, a radio and Jew's harp are clearly heard at different points, and I'm skeptical as to their legitimacy as found objects. That aside, Zeltini should spark some inspiration in artist's working in this field, or any field for that matter.

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