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Organum & Z'EV: "Temporal"

img  Tobias

Collaborations have almost become a sort of genre. Over the past decades, they have turned out to be suitable tools for forking out into different scenes, forming artistic communities, fleshing out less predictable paths and rejuvenating one's creative cells with fresh marrow. To Organum's David Jackman and Stefan Joel Weisser (better known under his Z'EV persona), contrarily, they are nothing more than occasional diversions from their solo oeuvre, musical conversations with people they not only respect but find agreable to work with as well. They should neither be regarded as a merely functional and career-building marketing ploy nor as a great mystery. The story of „Temporal“, for example, all laid out on the digipack and it reads as simple as this: „We worked side by side in Peckham in front of my computer from 13 Nov 2006 through 21 Jan 2008 and but so then Davd took it upon himself in South Norwood at RMS Studios from 10 March 2008 through 23 Jun 2008.“

The RMS Studios in London were are also where the duo's previous full-length collaboration was enacted four years ago. Despite its somewhat academic and analytic title „Tocsin -6 Thru +2“, that collection of both individual and joint compositions was essentially buit around a string of Piano samples. It thereby attained a startling emotional immediacy, further underlined by the delicate rawness and conscious field-recording character of some of the source materials. In contrast, „Temporal“ has no easy access points on offer for its audience. Neither the monolithic majesty of Jackman's trilogy of „Amen“, „Sanctus“ and „Omega“, nor the accessible, multicoloured style-bending of Z'EV's co-operation with David Linton or the alluring percussive atmospheres of his early milestone „Production and Decay of spacial Relations“. This is not to say that one could not recognise the individual voices of its contributors through the haze. Quite on the contrary, with their relentless recourse to a small and tightly circumscribed set of themes and noises, these three tracks between twelve and twentythree minutes' length are very much in line with the recent Organum output. And their scraping, metallic-dust-covered sound owes a lot to Weisser's self-constructed machineries.

What it does mean is that the character-traits of both artists have been submerged into a stream of sound whose riverbed of acoustic events is obsctructed by a perpetual flow of grinding, milling, rumbling and rotating noises. Underneath their finely-woven furore, a small bell is repeatedly struck by a soft mallet, a choir ardently intones „Amen“ and a plethora of industrial indentations are spattered-out over the canvas like overlapping lines of paint  on a black and white Rothko. Because these layers appear to be moving independently of each other, it takes a while before one realises that not only do some – perchance all – elements turn up again at different stages of the journey, but that all pieces are, in fact, either different interpretations of the same thought or different thoughts expressed by means of the same components. Everything seems to refer to nothing but itself here, the music the hum of a solitary mind. It is only in the very last minutes of the epic „Thunder“, when the piece slowly subsides into silence, that a new horizon opens up, its first rays of light just gently caressing the ear before the last note dies down.

Despite the organic allusions to Noise, the album makes a point of keeping this associational beam inflective, yet firmly within a tightly controled trajectory. Restraint is an important aspect here, as is constant re-evaluation. This, in fact, is what may make it hard to follow even on repeat listens, as the duo seems to have placed their acoustic markers in a state of concentrated trance, each of them indicating an exactly defined word of a however metaphorically coded vocabulary. This may be part of the intention, if that term makes any sense here. With its balance between rapid evolution and engaging repetition, the title of the album might well refer to a seemingly counterintuitive phenomenon: Everything changes, yet things always stay the same. Nothing, though, is as simple as it is laid out to be. This is a challenging and occasionally controversial listen – no wonder these two succinct artists enjoy each other's company.

Homepage: David Jackman/ Organum
Homepage: Z'EV at MySpace
Homepage. Die Stadt Records

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