Saturday, 27 June 2009

Jeph Jerman @Stuk

Jeph Jerman — @stuk

I consider achieving a satisfactory and interesting recording — plucked from the mundane — to be equally impressive to, say, the surface tension of a frozen pond or Stag Beetles a metre underground. Within the latter it is more about presuppositions, careful thought followed by minimum action, the former, the process as a whole. It can be very easy for artists to overlook such things — holding firm to the belief that there is nothing new to be found. The first track is a recording of a radiator in Jeph’s room, where we can hear vehicles drive past, intermingling with the interior of the pipes, creating a bleak sense of space coloured in white. The second recording (which can easily be mistaken for that of the first, if you’re not paying attention) is of the electric meter in Jeph’s room. It resides in a similar atmosphere to that of the first, but there is a lighter and more transitory feel to this track. It brings to mind the railroad imagery of Emile Zola’s La Bete Humaine — its twists, cranks, seeping mist, a more foreboding domain.

The last track on this cd is a solo live performance by Jeph. The track starts abruptly and leads the listener to believe that the concert has already started; such is Jeph’s polyrhythmic ability that one can mistakenly confuse the conscious shuffling of an audience for one person. Having heard (sadly never in the flesh) a large number of Jeph’s live performances with natural objects, I have found it can become somewhat tricky to find large differences between many of them. But therein lies the task. Studying these events reveals a whole manner of sound suspended within the larger and more obviously recognisable sounds.

Metaphors and linkages aside, it is also simply a pleasure to forgo the analysis and enjoy the playfulness of this particular artist.