Rolf Julius - Raining

Rolf Julius – Raining
(Western Vinyl)

What do apartments, public buildings, cellars, solitary forests, beaches, and noisy cities have in common? For Rolf Julius, these places were linked for their potential to be “rooms of stillness”. The term, according to Julius’ friend George Thomas, who provides a preface to Raining, outlines the notion that one may find in all these places areas of retreat and tranquility. 

Thomas distinguishes the type of tranquility that Julius was interested in from a kind of “dumb” tranquility, and though that's rather vague, I feel it refers to a superficiality commonly associated with mood music, sunsets, and the like. Julius envisioned well beyond these trifling associations, seeing and hearing his “rooms” as areas of busy, repetitive, quiet and noisy sonic activity, where a harmony can be struck between music and environment. 

The near-hour spanning title piece perfectly exemplifies the small music series that emerged from these ideas around tranquility and liminal space. The work can be thought of as the musical equivalent to treading water, the sounds working furiously below the immediate surface, while above, everything drifts gently along, never exactly sitting still. High frequencies cycle in and out of the listener's perception, mingling with the sounds of rain, the low of cows, and sounds whose origins it becomes impossible to distinguish between natural or electronic. It all adds up to something quite mesmerizing.

There are two other shorter tracks on the album, and together the three work well as a whole. Track 2 is a 15 minute composed work not specific to an installation, incorporating what sound like more electronic elements but propelling forward rather organically. The final piece, "Music for a Glimpse Inward" is of an installation from 2005. It's rather short at just over 5 minutes, showcasing bird sounds and subtle inflections from the composer's hand. Raining is a delight to say the least.

Rolf Julius - Raining (extract) by ScrapyardForecast


ARBOR INFINITY, J. Borges et al -- Part 2

high schoolers
call it 
the Ruins
a friend tells

that age
we were
Moonshined Knights
an arsenal of 
fireworks and 
stories of ‘al-
most sex’

no map
just arced land
to follow
hit beach
too far
not far

pant legs
with tide
beehive burn
-ers noses Pinocchio
the shit

burdens dance
runways of 
slipping into
the sea

[a personal "recontextualization" of a three year-old poem]

Everyday Loneliness - Recontextualizations C40
(Arbor 124)

Jonathan Borges returns with a new Arbor tape. As the title of this most current release suggests – along with 2009's Appropriation – Everyday Loneliness is a project that, if not exclusively dedicated to tying up loose-ends, is an outlet for analog experiments that are rawer and more free flowing than that of Borges and Kennedy's Pedestrian Deposit.   

"Cassette appropriation of previously used materials", so says the liner. Though I'm not able to pinpoint the album(s) where Borges originally used these sounds (if those albums even exist), it's rather moot at this point, as what we have here is a proper work in its own right that doesn't beckon for an understanding of where the sounds came from. Playing this tape on repeat with the A-B rev. mode activated on my stereo relinquishes the music of the concept of beginning and end. Instead, it just is, with shapes that build from the depths of blown-speaker drones, and loops of simple piano melodies that get pulled apart; this perfectly captures that all-encompassing, trance inducing feel that many of these anonymous, underground tone-and-drone acts strive for (at least, it feels like that's what a lot of them are going for). In that vein, here's a tape not to be overlooked. 

Everyday Loneliness - Side A (extract) by ScrapyardForecast


ARBOR INFINITY, J. Borges et al -- Part 1

it is morning 
it is sleepless
-ness that sends 
one out 
into the world

                                             -taking twigs 
                                             as snakes 
                                             when you do
                                             funny thing 
the weight 
of cars
splintering concrete
quick and true
like ice
or are we talk
-ing formation of 

                                           his beard
                                           a bet
                                           -ter night’s
                                           in that cold
                                           door frame
                                           in my expen
                                           -sive fucking

 Pedestrian Deposit - Kithless LP
(Arbor 136)

The word Kithless describes someone lacking family or friends. To stop there, however, would be to unjustly attribute the word to a measly definition, when there is clearly more to it when it comes to the music of Pedestrian Deposit. Through a mood of near unrelenting isolation, Kithless acts as a hymn to the lone wolf. It is music as fuel for productive reclusiveness, harkening to those dark regions of place and mind that few of us dare to accept, let alone travel to. 

The Pedestrian Deposit entity has been alive for years, but the mind numbing noise tactics that once defined it have morphed into something very different over the last few releases. This is in huge part due to Shannon Kennedy's joining of the group, and particularly the haunting scrapes and drones she conjures up from her cello. While Kennedy takes care of the strings, Jonathan Borges – the other half of PD – wrangles electronic devices. 

The pair were in top form on the live performance that makes up side a: drift gently down the frigid tides of sleep, which was recorded live by Jim Haynes as part of 2010's Activating the Medium festival in San Francisco. The theme of that year's fest was ICE, and about midway through the performance we hear Kennedy douse herself with freezing water in a tub, a microphone set nearby to record her shivering breath. The shift is surreal, sounding at first like sampled field recordings of some nondescript river before Kennedy's quivering creeps into the mix. Soon, equally frigid feedbacking tones skirt in an out of the sound of kennedy's breath playing on loop, making for some grim and starkly beautiful minimalism. 

Following very nicely in suit is the flip's under a veil of living light, eloquently bridging the gap between electroacoustics and harsh noise. The blipping Ambarchi-esque sonic layer acts as a nice backbone to the piece, which closes with stunning arced tones not unlike the opener. Kithless is easily the pinnacle of PD's discography. Highly recommended. 

Photo by R. Yau. , 23five inc.

Pedestrian Deposit - Under a Veil of Living Light by ScrapyardForecast