Friday, March 27, 2009

Jessica Rylan - Interior Designs

Well damn, i was hoping to be the first to post this, but while looking up the track listing, i found that someone had beat me to it. So it saves me the trouble of uploading to Mediafire, and i am borrowing the link from the mighty fine O Bam Garfo site, vestibule of many wonderful oddities.

So i thought i'd sling some of my own pixels on this audio document, adding to the stack that have already accumulated around it. This is the first release under Jessica Rylan's own name, released on Important Records in 2007. Normally releasing under the name Can't, this record is slightly smoother and less twitchy, more glowing and less glitchy. Predominantly built around the 8-bit rosy hue of her homemade synths, her sounds recall an inherent nostalgia; a childhood spent clustered around a 12" screen and an Atari 2600, its like seeing Polaroids of yrself as a kid, joyful and melancholy simultaneously.

Extraordinary opens the album, with nearly 15 minutes of sweeping oscillations, recalling sounds of retro-spaceships and early sci-fi. Sort of cheesy, sort of friendly, sort of ominous, an odd amalgam, a strange ambience is produced. She definitely knows her machines, and her touch is deft and knowing, carressing the crannies of the circuit-boards she has loving produced. This mastery of touch, and attention to detail, is the saving grace of this work, but 15 minutes of knob twiddling as an introduction is not a very engaging opener to anyone other than the initiated. Luckily, i like flying saucer noises, so i persevered.

The second and third tracks, timeless and phantasia, are when the going gets good, in my opinion. Transporting the listener, it creates an immersive environment, with traces of analog equipment flourishing around the edges, like a burned picture-frame, it creates a real-world touch stone that is easier to relate and emote to, rather than just sounding like theme music for a video game that doesn't exist. The low rumbling of 'Timeless' sounds like cassette rumble manipulated, searing the otherwise technicolor pixels of tweets and chirps, and the effect is unsettling and oddly beautiful. The vision scratched across my eyelids on this section is of Tamagotchi town burning, cartoon creatures twittering in alarm, while the static mountains and forests are unmoved. Its like watching an Atari campfire.

The last track, many people's favorites, Interior Designs, with Jandek-ian detuned guitar strumming above a tinny Casio beat-box. Its sort of enjoyable, definitely unexpected, but it goes on too long (nearly 12 minutes, if i remember correctly), and is sort of aimless. Looks like Rylan decided to include the kitchen sink, as well.

Overall, this album is enjoyable, and has many interesting ideas, but not many of them come to fruition. It is good, but not magnificent. The main problem i have, the question raised, is the intended audience and environment for listening. Its rather caustic and jarring to read or study to, too demanding to be audial wall-paper, but too sparse to be a party record. It works fairly well as a headphones album, close yr eyes and trip out on the technicolor twitters, but its too harsh to be soothing. My overall conclusion is that this record was probably fun as hell to make, and its probably great to witness the experiment live, and encompassing volumes, watching her fingers fly over her homemade creations, but as an integral audio artifact, it falls slightly short. There are definitely interesting textures and production ideas for those that are interested in homemade lo-fi sound synthesis, and i count myself among the choir that is being preached to.

Thanks to Postsilence for introducing me, and to O Bam Garfo for the link

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