Sunday, April 15, 2012

new release on Gruenrekorder

The unpredictable music of found strings, here captured using JrF contact microphones, offers up an experience both subtle and powerful – it keeps me fascinated, as does the challenge of presenting the results in a clear, emotive and simple way – allowing the moment of discovery to remain, tempered by the slow reveal of living with this music over time.
Please note: some of the frequencies of these structures mean that listening via computer speakers is not recommended, as you simply won’t be able to hear much of the sound. Therefore, please listen via conventional audio speakers or with headphones. thanks.
The reccordings featured in this composition were made during my first trip to Estonia for a residency at Moks. For those who haven’t visited Estonia before its vast openness and freedom from sound pollution make it a fascinating country to explore. The molasses hued mirrored lakes offered up some fascinating hydrophone recordings (some of which feature on my cd ‘the bright work’). whilst the sound of trees cracking together and grain barns rattling themselves from sleep in the occasionally strong winds provided some richly charged moments of deep listening.
I found transmitter cables, long chimney support cables, disused piano wires stretched across old farm utensils, rust covered fences – each one a surprise, a discovery and a joy to listen to. Also, standing in a simple, plain field bordering a seemingly endless, straight rail track and listening to the singing of the telephone lines that ran alongside the rails gave one a sense of unintended harmony between the modern world and the nature it all too often attempts to impose itself on. I made small cut-out pictures, placed them alongside the train tracks and in the long grass and photographed them – a picture story to send to my daughter – all the time with the sound of these long harp strings in my ears - JrF

Field Recording Series by Gruenrekorder
Gruenrekorder / Germany / 2012 / GrDl 106 / LC 09488

review by Cheryl Tipp:

Estonian Strings -- Jez riley French

Jez riley French is well known for his work exploring sounds that are 
normally hidden from the general listener. His recordings bring forth 
new life into environments that are not actively forthcoming when it 
comes to sharing their acoustic qualities, thereby opening up new sound 
environments to explore.

"Estonian Strings" is the latest offering from French and takes the form 
of a 42 minute composition based on recordings made during his first 
trip to Estonia in the spring of 2009. With his constant desire to 
investigate new sonic sources, French applied his contact microphones to 
a variety of "found strings".

"I found transmitter cables, long chimney support cables, disused piano 
wires stretched across old farm utensils, rust covered fences -- each 
one a surprise, a discovery and a joy to listen to."

The result of this foray into the unknown is a select series of field 
recordings that have been patiently worked together to create a 
pulsating, otherworldly piece that quietly beckons to the listener. 
Headphones are a definite must if you want to fully appreciate the 
multilayered intricacies of this work. With headphones, 'Estonian 
Strings' takes on an almost mesmeric quality; the piece is unhurried and 
minimal, yet it seems almost impossible to remove oneself from this 
strange world. The changing tone of the work is unquestionably subtle, 
but there is enough happening to retain more than a passing interest in 
the content.

With his ear for the unusual and an unflinching curiosity, French once 
again opens up a portal to reveal a wealth of usually concealed sounds. 
Just the right balance has been struck between content and composition 
here, making 'Estonian Strings' an intriguing and enjoyable listening 
experience. ct

Monday, April 9, 2012

over the past three + decades of listening, I have gathered an archive of extended recordings in church spaces, mainly from across europe. A hard drive crash on a pc laptop combined with an external hard drive fault means that much of this archive is now 'elsewhere' - in a space that is not accessible to us. somehow, whilst frustrating on one level, this seems to be a natural event for these artefacts....

it also raised a question about how individual artists / recordists (whatever term you choose) work is perceived. I have recently had a few conversations with a friend about the fact that I have not pursued an artistic career in the traditional sense & it is true that my interest in listening, recording & composing / creating works has been driven by my passion for these moments rather than an attempt to become 'well known'.

I am increasingly uncomfortable with the way making work public can create false images, unclear perceptions.

I make some work public, some not. some is still available & some, like this archive of church space recordings, is now elsewhere. what does this mean ? how does the act of listening to these spaces for the past 30+ years exist ? it seems to me that in the pursuit of 'sound art' the act of listening is being overlooked, the fact that many, many people have spent years & years listening to these spaces is being ignored & sometimes is replaced by a sense that only certain approaches can unlock the true worth of these sounds, these spaces.

is there a way to present recordings of such spaces in a different way ? is it simply the case that we should allow listening to exist without the need to glorify the results above & beyond framing what they are in themselves ?

Saturday, April 7, 2012

three new releases coming soon:

Jez riley French - 'estonian strings' (gruenrekorder) digital release series

Jez riley French - 'instamatic: snowdonia' (engraved glass) cd & download

Jez riley French & Hankil Ryu - 'bird cage wallpaper' (. point engraved) cd & download