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HAYNES, JIM - The Decline Effect

Format: do-LP
Label & Cat.Number: Helen Scarsdale Agency HMS 021
Release Year: 2011
Note: Corrosion-drones! Stunning new album by this sound-artist from San Francisco with high conceptual approaches; four long tracks of mechanic, electromagnetic or field recording-based sounds with interesting "stories" behind, always on the border to mystery and wonder... lim. 350 gatefold-cover
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €22.50

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"Parapsychology introduced the notion of the decline effect as a statistical phenomenon of diminishing results whilst investigating extra-sensory perception and psychokinesis. Where initial findings might substantiate proof of such abilities, further studies would almost always demonstrate the contrary. As such, this ontological disappearing act stands in allegorical parallel to the entropic art of Jim Haynes and frames his 2011 opus of the corroded drone and a compacted disintegration of sound.
This San Francisco Bay Area artist has long defined his work through the pithy phrase: "I rust things." The Decline Effect continues his investigations with electroacoustic decay through four bodies of evidence left behind from ephemeral aktions, shipwrecked electronics, re-engineered field recordings, and transmissions from the ether. Haynes composes through all of these sources through a patient suturing of sympathetic elements, whether they be textural, tonal, visceral, heavenly, sodden, or monolithic. Here, embers foretelling a nuclear winter gently waft upon industrial chorales amassed from an army of fidgeting motors; the sulfur-laden hiss from volcanic vents erupts from an organic thrum into boiling crescendos of environmental noise; geiger counter palpitations stream along a leaden sea of modulated radio noise; a warm explosion of sun-bleached distortion caresses the evanescent halos from an undulating mesmerism inexplicably not sourced from a guitar and / or digital patch authored by Christian Fennesz. Haynes' broken minimalism orbits somewhere near the work Joe Colley, G*Park, Nurse With Wound, and BJ Nilsen.
The 2LP of The Decline Effect is strictly limited to 350 copies, comes in a handsome gatefold sleeve, and sports the necessary download coupon. Zener cards not included." [label info]


"Another mysterious sonic missive from our very own resident dronologist Jim Haynes, another excursion into the sound of decay, this time in the form of four sprawling sidelong epics, each its own self contained soundworld, culled from various field recordings, vibrating strings and other sonic errata. Recorded over the last three years, these recordings require headphones to truly explore their depth, and once strapped on, it's easy to get lost in these strange lands of decay and declines.
The A side was originally a commissioned soundtrack for a pair of films that screened at the Hauntology exhibition at the Berkeley Art Museum in 2010, and while we've yet to see either of these films, the smoldering slow moving "Ashes" does evoke a certain ontological sonic dread, the core of the sound is of course the drone, but that drone is pulled taut, and the sound seems to fray as the track progresses, shedding sonic detritus in the form of fractured melodies, strange clicks and muted buzz. At times, this begins to sound like perhaps Haynes' most overtly musical record, but that musicality is eventually picked apart, the remaining elements litter the landscape like bits of some sonic wreckage, but then the edges are smoothed, and the stray shards are reigned in, the sound is truly beautiful, whether a deep sonorous drone, or a lush layered stretch of celestial shimmer.
Named for the performance space at which the piece was debuted, "Terminal" is another sidelong soundscape, the majority of the sounds sourced from field recordings of geysers and thermal vents, the opening few minutes unfurling like a raw field recordings, playing out like some obscure scientific document, unearthed from some dusty box filed away in a warehouse, chronicling some lost expedition. The sound doesn't necessarily grow more musical, but instead, seems to blossom and display more texture, and more depth, as if more sounds were introduced and then layered or woven into one another, streaks of blurred hiss, peppered with the sound of wind on microphone or the trickle of water, the white noise of eruption balanced by the hushed murmur of calm before and after.
Side three finds Haynes exploring radioactive decay, unclear what the sound sources are, we'd like to think, that it's indeed recordings of Strontium or Uranium, the radioactivity causing the tape to warp and curdle, but in fact, it sounds more like an assemblage of intercepted short wave broadcasts, and deep bellows of bowed metal, lush chordal swells washing over strange effects, muted glitches, lush tones and surprisingly dreamy overtones, bell like chimes, chittering cricket like clicks, Geiger counter like bleeps, all blurred and smeared into a gorgeous hazy of soft focus shimmer, those clicks coalescing into an almost-rhythm, while the surrounding sounds seem to lose cohesion, the edges softening, all bleeding into one another and drifting like blackened clouds of whir and thrum.
And finally, the last movement in this crumbling sonic tetraptych is the wire recording sourced "Cold", in which Haynes captures the sympathetic buzz of wires and plays them like some sort of abstract harp, at least that's how we picture it, a huge stone room, with metal wires running across in wild tangles, Haynes at the center, wildly bowing and striking wires, creating this delicate crystalline symphony, another blurred buzzscape, that peppers the lush layered shimmer, with creaks and clatter, skitter and crunch, but those errant sounds are quickly subsumed by the warm whirls of hushed bleary drift and an unexpected eruption of caustic blown out noise, a psychedelic squall that acts as the record's coda, before the inevitable decline, the sound slipping into nothingness. Gorgeous stuff.
LIMITED TO 350 COPIES!! Housed in a luxurious full color gatefold sleeve, and pressed on nice thick black vinyl. Includes a download coupon as well." [Aquarius Rec.]