Intrication No. 916 – Stray Landings

Intrication No.916|   CD-Digital | February 2018

France Jobin’s latest work, Intrication, takes its cues from aspects of quantum theory I’m not going to pretend to understand with much coherence. In essence, the album looks at a process known as ‘quantum entanglement’; when particles interact in such a way that the quantum state of each cannot be described without reference to the other. The album puts the tiniest fragments under the microscope, revealing within them kaleidoscopic expanses.

Despite the fact Intrication explores these scientific complexities, it could equally be replicating religious or near-death experiences. ‘m’ is a good example of this reverent quality; like an interlude from a cLOUDDEAD track stretched to the extreme. ‘03V’ follows a similar mood, delicate sun-blushed washes of ambience lightly brushing past. Playing into France’s concept for the album, this track forms part of a larger picture. The ‘V’ stands for ‘vignette’, and ‘01V’ to ‘04V’ are interspersed between the rest of the tracks, acting as a familiar motif throughout.

While these act as palette cleansing interludes, the tracks between cover more wide-ranging territory. One of the albums greatest nuances is the combination of natural and synthetic tones. Take ‘graviton’ for example, a glorious combination of warm, expansive dub-ambience and microcopic static pulses. Perhaps the crux of Intrication, ‘e-‘, is another case in point. Delicate chimes ring across the stereo field, gentle reverberations rising and falling abruptly in the backdrop. These resonant twinkles are eventually met by undulating low-end structures, the chimes dissolving into itching twitches of static.

It’s fitting Intrication sees its release on Material Object and Atom™’s ‘No.’ label. Throughout his own work Atom™ has explored similar mediations between the scientific and the psychedelic (take a listen to his mid-90s DATacide project for example). Speaking with France about her interpretation of quantum entanglement through the album, she discussed applying the same concept to the relationship between sound and our perception of it. At this point the question becomes almost a philosophical one; as we are presented with the possibility that each of our perceptions may differ, although still pertaining to the same ‘real world’ sound. Whatever our sensory differences might be however, there is a joyous sense of wonder and cosmic discovery to be found throughout Intrication; a considered tribute to the unknown.

Theo Darton Moore (February 2018) Stray Landings

 

 

singulum LINE_075 – Stray Landings (UK)

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LINE_075 | CD + Digital | limited edition of 400 | February 2016

If William Basinski had used an early 2000s CD Player rather than a tape reel to craft his legendary experiment in sonic decay, ‘Disintegration Loops’, it would probably have some strong parallels with Singulum. The release is the latest offering from Montreal based composer and installation artist France Jobin.

Across her rather substantial career, Jobin has displayed work in galleries everywhere from South Africa to Japan, as well as releasing on a number of different labels. Singulum sees her return to an old residence, LINE Recordings. The label has hosted the likes of Alva Noto, Mark Fell and Yves De Mey since its founding at the start of the millennium, and Jobin’s work finds a fitting home here.

Take the washing flourishes of piano across the opening track, ‘n’. Between fragile buzzes of phone-line glitch, modem scratches linger in the backdrop. Jobin also uses her drawn out structures to give shifts in the production full impact. On ‘I’, creeping arps and digitised chimes linger as long as possible before giving way to Jobin’s faintly ominous drones.

The timidly developing soundscapes of this release build up to its closing piece, ‘s’. The track makes for one of Singulum’s boldest statements, meditative pools of ambience are left void of further embellishment in an offering of streamlined introspection. Towards the tracks latter half a swelling chord makes repeat appearances; a feature that wouldn’t sound out of place in Deepchord or Fluxion’s output.

Jobin has cited quantum physics as a strong inspiration for Singulum. She uses a range of audio processing tools to remove her carefully selected field recordings from their original context. In this pursuit, Jobin has endeavored to highlight just how flexible sampling materials can be, creating a release which lingers, its subtle yet graceful motifs rattling around the brain for hours after the final track.

Theo Darton-Moore

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singulum LINE_075 – Brainwashed (USA)

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Singulum

LINE_075 | CD + Digital | limited edition of 400 | February 2016

Like her debut release, Valence (2012), Montreal’s France Jobin’s work is from the traditional school of electronic minimalism, in which the sparsest of sounds and instrumentation are utilized to create complex, nuanced sculptures of tone and texture.   Inspired by quantum physics and actualized by a variety of processing and modular synthesis, this album is yet another strong entry in her growing discography.

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One aspect that sets Jobin’s work apart in this often-crowded field is her judicious use of dissonance.  Rather than relying on distorted processing effects or abrasive synthetic tones, her work is instead more restrained and nuanced.  Gliding, almost bowed-string like tones cut through dramatically on “l,” as she builds upon simple loops into a richer, almost conventionally melodic sound.  The lengthy opening piece “n” features a swirling, almost organ like tone that fights with pure silence during the opening.  The piece transitions to a shimmering, sharper quality not unlike Robert Hampson’s work as Main in its most stripped-down capacity before blending extreme, yet low volume frequencies in its conclusion.

That is not to say that France’s work is all pure sounds and open spaces, however.  Sustained low-end vibrations stretch throughout “m,” which results in a piece with just the right amount of grit, but one that complements the rest of the piece well.  Even with these darker rumbles and the occasional bit of what most closely resembles digital interference, her use of quiet, almost melodic passages contrast extremely well and give the piece a distinct feeling of beauty.

The 13 and a half minute concluding composition, “s,” makes for the perfect culmination of Singulum and encapsulates her style as a whole.  The opening passages are bleaker and less inviting, exemplified by icy sounds and a slowly pulsing, slightly menacing layer of noises.  It never becomes overly powerful or commanding, but the sound has a distinctly sinister characteristic to it.  However, she uses the piece’s duration to evolve and develop the sound, rearranging the various layers to alleviate the tension she created beforehand.  By the conclusion of the composition, the layers have been shifted to a more open, spacious arrangement that lets light shine through what previously was kept in the dark.

Singulum is one of those albums that requires focused and dedicated attention, as any sort of distraction significantly hinders the impact of the work.  But through these hushed volumes and carefully treated electronic passages, France Jobin has constructed an album of quiet, yet lush arrangements.  While it is difficult to exactly imagine how quantum physics can translate to sound, Singulum is undoubtedly a pretty close approximation.

Creaig Dunton

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