digital reissue of 'estonian strings'
(nb. headphones / conventional speakers advised)
review by Cheryl Tipp (British Library):
Estonian Strings. 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