Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Jez riley French - 'field recordings volume 21'

Jez riley French - 'Field recordings Volume 21' (engraved glass - egcdfr021)

contains recordings of river life, sluice gates, marina jetty, tables, fence wires & fence plates. The tracks were all recorded in the UK at various location except for the tables, which were recorded in Vienna.

pressed, high quality cdr £7.99 inc p&p (order by paypal to tempjez (at) hotmail.com or via IMJ, Sound 323, and/oar etc.

Review (Richard Pinnell, Bagatellen):
Its far from an original analogy, but I tend to think of field recording in a similar manner to photography. A good recording can capture a familiar moment with skilful clarity, presenting the natural beauty of what surrounds us as an object to admire. However it can also reveal hidden detail, a moment captured and framed that maybe we hadn’t previously noticed, or something out of the normal reach of the human ear.

Along with his contemporaries, the likes of Toshiya Tsunoda, Lee Patterson and Jeph Jerman, Jez riley French’s recent work has focussed on the latter category, amplifying tiny vibrations and uncovering small details often found at the point where natural forces meet man-made objects.

The subject matter of the recordings on Field Recordings Vol.21 ticks many of the appropriate boxes for this area of music. The wire fences, hydrophone recordings and working marinas and jetties presented here are all current favourites of the modern field recordist, and so some of these recordings do sound vaguely familiar if, like me, you listen to a lot of this kind of material. Despite this however, the majority of the other-worldly sounds still grab the attention, and their capture and presentation is very well executed. Peculiarly, their form and shape occasionally resembles the familiar patterns of improvised music, drones intercepted by sharp sounds, and prickly little details nestling amongst distant, repetitious echoes. In general these recordings portray a sense of unsettling awkwardness, a feeling of slight removal from our normal perception of everyday hearing. The naturally occurring beauty of the sounds suggests we should be more comfortable with them, but their alien qualities make that difficult.

riley French can often be found improvising live with field recordings forming a part of his music alongside closely-miked objects. Here though all of the material comes straight from untreated field recordings, and it is his ability to track down sites to make recordings of such intriguing detail that transfers into the key feature of this release, the continuous state of wonder at the sounds found out there just beyond our normal listening threshold.... should definitely be on the shopping list of those interested in the creative use of field recordings, and probably a few other people too.

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