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HAYNES, JIM - Ununtrium's Daughter

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Semperflorens SF11
Release Year: 2014
Note: inspired by UNUNTRIUM (a highly radioactive element with the atomic number 113) this is a work about the 'existential transitory state of self-disintegration', expressed through specially created field & object recordings => again a great mixture of suspended drones & crackling sounds, intense & full of tension !!
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" 'Ununtrium's Daughter' is a very personal album for me, and that sentiment probably comes more from the context out of which this album was made. With the benefit of critical distance, I can still say that this album is a somber one. That was certainly a mood prevalent during the compositional process; and ghosts of that emotional state seem to resonate within the four interlinked pieces. Ununtrium is a synthetic, highly radioactive element with an atomic number of 113; but it may not this element's name for long, as this name is merely a temporary placeholder until the powers that be come up with something better. Much of what is known about this element is the stuff of scientific prediction as this substance is very unstable and difficult to create in the first place. Ununtrium itself becomes an allegory for an existential transitory state of self-disintegration through which the subject is painfully aware of its accelerating collapse furthered by the anxiety of its identity being stripped at the any time or whim.
Most signals that transmit through these compositions have already lapsed into their shadows, ghosts and echoes even before I began to work them into these chorales of electricity. But a few of them speak of their former lives, or at least have some interesting poetic allusions. "Virgo" came to fruition through a very brief field recording that I captured before my batteries died of a huge piece of plate glass that had been shattered during a Black Bloc splinter riot in San Francisco, 2012. The glass itself held its form but was groaning under its own weight through a filigree of delicate crackles. This is but one sound in this piece, yet it spawned many of its neighboring forms. Ultrasound recordings of a diesel locomotive punctuate "As We Spiral Backwards" with these microsonic rasps and blurts emitted by a lonely, idling engine at the Port of Oakland. Sounds of a semi-successful attempt to record the tides of the Atlantic Ocean on the South Carolina shore through a long-thin wire vibrating in the churning currents are found on "ЕAnd The Flowers Fall." I might have gotten a better sampling but my recording session was shortened by an intrepid crustacean who sent me on my way with a sharp pinch on my toes. I got the message that I was no longer welcome.
If there are any comparisons I could make, I heard of Harold Budd's dark ambient masterpiece Abandoned Citieswhen I was composing this album at the beginning of 2013. Having no luck in finding it at that time, I wondered just how gothic and grotesque could Harold Budd get. This became my imagined homage to a recording I never heard. Let it be known that I did finally track down a copy of that album; and no, I didn't come close. Make of this what you will. Ununtrium's Daughter is still a sad album."
Jim Haynes / January 2014
Composed at the Helen Scarsdale Agency, her mobile laboratory, and the Djerassi Resident Artists Program 2012-2013." [label info / credits]


"It seems that when Jim Haynes is not behind the counter at aQ, he must be holed up in some subterranean bunker, or perhaps a network of caves that reach all the way into the center of the earth, or even still, some abandoned space station, drifting weightless miles above the earth. What else could explain the harrowingly abject sounds that make up his various recordings, none moreso than Ununtrium's Daughter, another fantastically and abstractly mysterious selection of deftly manipulated field recordings, and carefully crafted sounds, that Haynes weaves into mesmerizing expanses of lowercase dronemusic. But not the sort of static drift of most drone music, the drone here is often implied, the sounds active and alive, alien field recordings constructed from short wave radio dispatches, and lush, cavernous thrum built from all manner of sonic detritus.
The opening track here sounds like a muted Blue Sabbath Black Cheer, all of the metal elements stripped away, leaving just a murky sonic husk, a thick rumbling, a deep, layered whir, laced with what sounds like human breath, or perhaps that's the rumbling of distant subway cars, it never really matters where the sounds come from, since in Haynes' hands, they become something wholly other anyway. In this case, it's a geiger counter symphony, underpinned by a lush, almost melodic hum, peppered with what sounds like the clunk of someone changing the channels on an old TV, that is if every station was broadcasting some sort of glitchy electronic thrum, and then before you know it, the sound transforms into some Conet Project like transmission, voices drifting in the ether, the ether in this case of Haynes' construction, thick, blackened swirls, that over the course of the track, build to a power electronics like intensity, before settling back down into a slow smolder, all crackle and crunch, hum and hiss. The rest of Ununtrium's Daughter exists in a similarly bleak sonic wasteland, again evoking the aforementioned caverns and bunkers, abstract crumble, staticky drones, ominous black ambience, all laced with strange industrial happenings, creaks and clatter, the sounds of buttons pushed, of levers pulled, of dials twisted, all re-contextualized into abstract anti-rhythms, long expanses of barely there, whispery drifts, offset but roiling clouds of grim, grinding, crunch. A few moments evoke an underwater world, adding abandoned undersea research laboratory to the list of potential Haynes' hangouts, all warbly and woozy, blackly bloopy, respirator like rhythms woven into softly bubbling grey noise arpeggiations, often building to symphonies of chitter and skitter, the occasional insectoid chorus drifting atop black swells, settling into a final stretch, the most hushed and dreamily sinister of the bunch, a muted swirl of blackened thrum, wreathed in gristled layers, the prickly texture constructed from a tangle of processed static, smoothed out into a pulsing sonic cowl, beneath which a strange sound world winds down, gradually, toward eventual oblivion...
Packed in an oversized slim DVD style case, and as you might have figured, quite limited... " [Aquarius Rec.]