"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Ghost in the Machine

"Deconstructed electronic/acoustic ambient micro-noise" on the debut full-length from Hessien, Home is Where the Ghost is, which finds Tim 'Diagram' Martin (UK) and Charles Sage (AU) collaborating to good effect. What's that you say, website? "The release takes the deconstructionist tendencies further, moving into a realm where implied structure and static drone meet subtle melody and tranquil haze." Mmmm... Nnnniiiice!

The pair suggest parallels between the album and an American New Wave film of the plotless no-narrative grainy widescreen kind - endless horizons and blank sun-stare, tumbleweed and dust. Revenant leitmotifs in the form of dissected guitar melody, fragments of noise... layered arrangements of previous releases (see below) pared back - melody obscured by haze or glare or some kind of narcosis.

Part Of You from zenbullets on Vimeo.

Hessien - Overarchangel by handstitched*

Hessien - The Death of Abba by handstitched*

Hessien - Home is where the Ghost is (edits) by handstitched*

In fact, Home… is noticeably sparser than Hessien’s previous (cf. recent Audio Gourmet freebie, Broken, about which more below), slivers of melody hoving obliquely into half-view only to dissipate amid a soft hum of ambient noise; gently bent guitar drifting and flickering distantly, wreathed in static. The Hessien sound also departs somewhat from Tim’s better known Maps and Diagrams project in the relatively unmediated aspect of its articulation, with the central sounding source, guitar, left, if not uneffected, then unaffected, unashamedly guitar-y, processing withheld.

In fact, in case last year's Koom and Foel passed you by, these dainty limited run hand-stitched cork-sleeved babies secreted gorgeous gems like "Blaen" and "Utgores":

Maps and Diagrams - Blaen by handstitched*

Maps and Diagrams - Utgores by handstitched*

And while on the diagrammatic tip of Tim, you’d be daft not to nab Maps and DiagramsTintinnbulate. If any of you swooned to the beauteous ambience of Koom and Foel, this finds the Diagram man mining a similar vein - in fact, seemingly recycling original source material, layers and processed sound created during the making of those releases. "Collectively, “Tintinnbulate” as a body of work travels and drifts through a distant rumble and sub-level murmur which force dense fragments of distorted melody from within the body of each piece – this content remains intentionally corroded and disjointed from the human ear – cascading into more a more audible, crystalline landscape. Each piece is framed within its own floating horizon; it appears visible close-up but subsequently out-of-focus at the furthest point. In the layering of sound there is the natural aspect of field recordings, continuous static and human-influence which surround the listener and create a vast expanse of experimental and applied sound." Grab Tintinnbulate here, courtesy of increasingly active free netlabel, Audio Gourmet.

Full circle, fast forward and a bit back to Hessien, note Handstitched* got together with the estimable Fluid Audio to jointly release Obelisk|Stelea, an ep with reworks by Solo Andata, Jasper TX, Zelienople and Konntinent.

Hessien - Breaking Webs (Sample) by FluidAudio

Hessien - Gazed and Pale Reflections (Sample) by FluidAudio

Its four originals are variously reformed, notably by Solo Andata, combining distant parts of the original with their signature sequences, tenebrous and twinkling, and the ubiquitous Jasper TX, weaving his organic drone-style threads through a nebulous never-ending.

Hessien - Gazed and Pale Reflections (Solo Andata Remix) Sample by FluidAudio

Hessien - A Letter from Engels (Japser TX Remix) Sample by FluidAudio

All this, and a free bonus track too!

Hessien - We Don't Want to Live in Your Dreams (Free Bonus Track) by FluidAudio

And, still mixing the munificence in this veritable Diagram-mathon, back to the generous gents from Audio Gourmet, through whom came the lads' recent Broken, a 3-track ep characterised by "a subdued and distant approach to the melancholic side of implied melody..." involving "looped field recordings, sustained acoustic delay and the fragile vocals of Jane Sage..." and "flickering static and kaleidoscopic distortion, leaning into organic textures and echoing reverb; all affected with a layered, instrumental composition that gives the sense of coming from or going to a faraway place."
Listen and/or download from Audio Gourmet:

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