Review – Valence (LINE) – 2012 – Dusted Magazine – USA

Valence on LINE  054 – 2012

The Montreal based sound artist and curator, France Jobin, has been releasing albums for well over a decade. Devoted explorers of the finer sides of noise will have likely come across the name i8u — Jobin’s exclusive nom-de-plume up to this point. i8u has been an effective outlet for Jobin, where she’s shown an aptitude for transforming analog and digital geekery into music with substance.

The press release for Valence — Jobin’s first work to break from the i8u guise — claims the album was created entirely from “transformed field recordings.” While neither Jobin nor the label hint at the source of these recordings, fans of i8u needn’t fear a drastic change from the spectrum-spanning minimalism that’s become her signature sound. In fact, Valence, from start to finish, feels like a further honed version of i8u’s pointillist analog-synth explorations, as opposed to a shifting of paradigms.

While it’s not a drastic change, the music feels more congealed than past efforts; the reticent mids and ear-piercing highs of i8u’s 2010 effort, 29 Palms, for example, tended to float along nicely enough in parallel, but didn’t posses the same give-and-take relationship expressed on Valence. This refined sound likely is linked to Jobin’s transformation of the more digestible low to high-mid frequencies; they flutter, cascade, and always translate a hint of effervescence in the way that heavily time-stretched field recordings do.

While ambient and drone focused music in general dictates a sort of unspoken modesty, Valence, in its scope, is not a humble record. In many ways, it’s reminiscent of a number of epic Eliane Radigue works. But this doesn’t always come easily for Jobin, as the liner notes explain her struggles in always finding the right mental and emotional state in order create her art. Considering she decided to include these thoughts here, I’d imagine Valence was of particular challenge. Perhaps then, this album does represent a sort of shift for Jobin — not overtly in terms of ideology, but in terms of an emotional weight, one that has never carried so transparently into her music.

By Adrian Dziewanski

Review – Valence (LINE) – 2012 – ATTN. Magazine UK

Valence on LINE  054 – 2012

Working exclusively with processed field recordings taken from across North America and Europe, Jobin’s conscious mind dances cautiously with her source material; she is compelled by its potential significance but reluctant to unveil its mystique by sparing it too much thought. As she states herself: there is a likelihood of finding a certain emotion in a piece, but it is not guaranteed, nor do I know exactly when or where I will find it. The act of looking for that emotion in of itself will distort it. Although one would think experimental music grants complete freedom, when composing, I feel constrained by both my mental state and the way in which I build the piece.”

There is therefore a paradoxically heavy tension present within the practically weightless ambience. Jobin wrestles with her own curiosity, letting impulse prise the reins from the heavy steering and assertion of rational thought and letting the decision-making process flow as it will. Each of the three pieces goes through a most delicate evolution, guided gently between harmonies and into higher volumes by intricate tilts of axis. Comparisons are understandably drawn with the microscopic drone modulations of Eliane Radigue, with Jobin’s music carrying a similar attentiveness to the tiniest details; gaseous sonic emissions mutate at an imperceptibly slow speed, drawing both composer and listener into a micro-world of heightened focus.

Despite originating from the recordings of actual spaces, attributing Valence to a particular type of landscape is difficult. The gentle flickers of drone feels as though they’re drifting around the perimeter of a space in nature – perhaps a large open field or desolate green forest – yet those occasional beeps of ultra-high frequency reside outside of an organic frequency spectrum, tugging the mental visuals toward the realms of artificial machinery and laboratory electronics. But just as Jobin avoids trying to excavate the “meaning” within her work, it’s perhaps wise for the recipient to question the music with care; the ethereal, intangible beauty of Valence is brittle and always ready to unravel at the hands of any heavy-handed attempt to decipher its implications.
(ATTN:Magazine, UK)

Review – Valence (LINE) – 2012 – Hawai

Valence on LINE  054 – 2012

E l disco de la pareja feliz no es lo único que ha aparecido por las líneas dirigidas por Richard Chartier. Con la misma fecha, febrero de este año, sale editado el estreno de la artista canadiense France Jobin en Line,y que además es el primer disco bajo su nombre real. Jobin es una músico de Montreal que desde hace unos diez años viene editando bajo I8U. Más de una decena de trabajos, la mayoría desconocidos para mí, y que por tanto hacen que mi ingreso en su vocabulario sea del todo nuevo. “Valence” fue creado enteramente desde grabaciones de campo transformadas, inspirado tanto en los enlaces de valencia (VB) y las teorías orbitales moleculares (MO. “Una órbita atómica es una función matemática que describe el comportamiento ondulado de un electrón o de un par de electrones en un átomo. Esta función se puede utilizar para calcular la probabilidad de encontrar cualquier electrón de un átomo en cualquier región específica alrededor del núcleo del átomo. El término puede también referir a la región física definida por la función donde el electrón es probable que esté”. Buscando las zonas en donde se cree se encuentran las partículas más pequeñas de la vida, France crea una órbita en donde los sonidos viajan en campos donde la percepción no es la misma, más cercana al silencio que al ruido, en perfecta sintonía con lo que el mismo Chartier hace. Sin llegar al nivel se sutileza sonora a los alcanza el jefe del sello, los postulados de Jobin de todas maneras obligan a permanecer atentos para no descuidar el instante en que los rumores mudos dejan de ser tal y pasan a ser la banda sonora para este viaje de búsqueda atómica. Siguiendo trayectorias circulares quizás pueda parecer extraño, para mí lo fue, pero efectivamente uno al escuchar cuidadosamente estas tres piezas –entre los dieciocho y los veintisiete minutos– siente y sobre todo imagina a aquella partícula, la más ligera de todas viajar alrededor del núcleo, me imagino orbitando y dando destellos de luz en la eternidad de lo invisible al ojo, ajeno a la vista, pero palpable al oído, el sentido que nos perite ver más allá de todo. Una verdadera y agradable sorpresa la que nos tenía deparada France Jobin, quien crea un universo a partir de lo microscópico, que contrarresta con las inmensidades al vacío teñidas de gris de Stephan Mathieu y Caro Mikalef. Line por dos en el comienzo del año, diez sobre diez.