29 Palms, i8u on Dragon’s Eye Recordings
Montreal-based France Jobin has been active since 1999, with albums on labels like Bake/Staalplaat, Room40, nvo, Atak, and Vague Terrain. Specializing in “sound-sculpture” in her i8u guise, she’s aided and abetted here by California’s Joshua Tree national park, whence she drew both inspiration and field recordings, edited and processed into the spatial environments of 29 Palms. Its single long format tract eschews a linear narrative in favour of ineffable dwellings and unwonted divergences; for all that it dwells on spaces it creates, its audio-visualizations constantly shift, between deeply textured dronal swells and billows and attenuated higher end microsonics – binaries that Jobin stitches together into audio tableaux that are at once evacuated and replete, expansive and intimate. Poking discreetly into the interstices of lower spectrum digital and analogue tone, softly prodding pulses and held back bass gesture, the trajectory of 29 Palms describes a event horizon onto which microvariations hove into view; ambiguous atmospheres unfolding out of a seemingly infinitely creatively configurable trio of materials – synthetic sustain, wavering tonalities and digital crackle – that commingle with occasional emergent harmonics. It rises and falls, building into whirling dirges (clip below), softening to mid-range pulse, descending into spectral sound and liminal near silence. Appeal – no soundalike reference intended – will be to those who cherish the likes of Richard Chartier through to William Basinski, to the ear that cleaves to a certain desertification, and the expressivity of absence.