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HAYNES, JIM - Flammable Materials from Foreign Lands

Format: LP
Label & Cat.Number: Elevator Bath eeaoa 045
Release Year: 2016
Note: a full LP composed from material recorded at a residency in Estonia, taken from abandoned post Soviet-Era buildings and strange radio shortwave transmissions, leading to crackles, mechanical drones, rusty noise and cryptic speech with the typical flair of decay JIM HAYNES is known for... kind of sister-album to the 'Throttle & Calibration' tape.. "somewhat sparser than his other works, but no less fascinating, and with an additional menacing edge" [Brainwashed] lim. 300 clear vinyl
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €22.50

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The new LP from Jim Haynes is a haunted and provocative endeavor, rust-covered and mysterious. It is the result of an immersive listening/recording process through which Haynes' singular techniques intersected with an unfamiliar, disquieting landscape....

"The album was mostly composed, recorded, and sketched during an Estonian residency at MoKS for a program that was hosted by Simon Whetham and John Grzinich called Active Crossover. The goal of that program was to bring together various artists whose work pertained directly or indirectly to environmental recordings. When John asked me about what kinds of spaces I was interested in seeking out before I arrived, I mentioned that I would like to investigate sites that had a considerable amount of electro-magnetic disruption which I could capture on radio along with sites of psychic distress.
The Estonian landscape is pocked with abandoned buildings of considerable size and decay. Many of the excursions for Active Crossover engaged the large crumbling Soviet-era structures. Given that the electricity was off in many of these sites, I had to rely on shortwave to capture any electro-magnetic disruptions instead of any fluctuations from shitty wiring or weird Soviet power transformers... and the radio reception from that particular time and that particular place (i.e. southeastern Estonia) was eerie and unsettled. The crackle, drone, and noise is unlike that which is heard in the United States, looming with a (possibly perceived) paranoia of the Russian state just a few kilometers away. That said, Estonia had experienced an encroachment from Russia as the Russian military kidnapped/extradited an Estonian intelligence officer who was on Estonian soil at the time not too far from where I was staying. Given the contemporary military actions of Russia reclaiming Crimea from Ukraine, this incident put many an Estonian on edge.
The A-side to Flammable Materials reflects this aestheticized paranoia through bursts of static, pulsed noise, and atonal sinews of sustained frequency. The B-side is wholly more introspective, cutting up an Estonian radio broadcast into phonemes, disjointed phrases, and cryptic speech. What few words that can be recognized from the Estonian pertain to the forces of globalization. From the context of someone who understands very little of the language, these snippets of a female voice clip like a surrealist collage or a Dada poem. Compositionally, I was thinking very much of Robert Ashley's Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon and the Nurse With Wound recontextualization of such sounds."
- Jim Haynes

Based in California, Jim Haynes has exhibited internationally at the San Francisco Museum Of Modern Art, the Lausanne Underground Film Festival, the Berkeley Art Museum, WestSpace (Melbourne, Australia), and Diapason (New York). Recorded media has been published through Editions Mego, Ghostly International, Drone Records, Hooker Vision, Intransitive, Semperflorens, Elevator Bath, and The Helen Scarsdale Agency. He has also been awarded residencies at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program (California), Recombinant Media Labs (California), Jack Straw Productions (Seattle), and MoKS (Estonia). He has participated in a number of fruitful collaborations with Loren Chasse, Keith Evans, Steven Stapleton, and M.S. Waldron. Until 2015, Haynes was the Vice President and Curatorial Director for 23five Incorporated, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the development and increased awareness of sound arts within the public arena. He is also the lone occupant at The Helen Scarsdale Agency.

Flammable Materials from Foreign Lands has been issued as a clear vinyl LP with gorgeous matte-finish jackets featuring artwork by Jim Haynes. Mastered by James Plotkin, it has been released in a limited edition of 300 copies. Every copy purchased directly from Elevator Bath will include a download code for high quality files of the entire audio content of this LP.

Total running time: 38 minutes


"For his two most recent (near simultaneous) releases, Jim Haynes has scaled back his audial representation of decay to something a bit colder and more intentionally off-putting. Both albums are largely based on field recordings taken from a residency in Estonia, and capturing the detritus of Soviet era electronics (and some still active) via shortwave and then processing the results. The final products may be somewhat sparser than his other works, but no less fascinating, and with an additional menacing edge.

On the first side of the Flammable Materials record, Haynes presents three pieces that are perhaps the most inline with his previous works. Treated static and radio interference is unsurprisingly a recurring theme of the record, but are especially prevalent on the opening piece "Of Blast and Bleach". Here Haynes mixes it with some sort of idling motor sound that is fittingly inconsistent. Elements of the static and noise are shaped into some sort of rhythmic structure that contrasts the abstract remainder of the composition very effectively.

Haynes takes on a more noise-centric approach on "Nyet". First a lava-like wall of harshness with the occasional tone slipping through, it is quickly broken back down and built back up, with an emphasis on shifting filters obscuring the low register part of the spectrum. For "E. Kohver" he takes on the opposite approach to the structure and arrangement. This piece is mostly a heavy, imposing drone with metallic tinged machinery noises that never goes full on dissonant, but stays sinister. At times the shortwave static is molded into that crackling texture-like sound that Haynes does so well, but the whole piece is very menacing and dynamic.

The other side of the album is dedicated to a single piece, "Electric Speech: Nadiya". A bit over 20 minutes, the composition is based solely on the radio broadcast of a woman speaking. Of course Haynes also makes use of the static and noise inherent to this type of recording, but in general he embraces minimalism more. The source material voice appears frequently, cut into fragments and phonemes that are anything but identifiable words, regardless of the language being spoken. As a whole it is a different style he is working in, with that singular focus and an impressive use of silence to contrast the more commanding moments.

Both of Jim Haynes' newest works are exceptional additions to his already impressive body of work. The Throttle and Calibration tape is probably the less adventurous of the two, but is still a work deeply embedded in his style without being any sort of retread or replication of material he has already done. Flammable Materials from Foreign Lands benefits from its unique conceptual direction and focus, but really neither one is better than the other, and both are just excellent works from someone who has done an admirable job developing a career of sound art that always stands strong as utterly unique and fascinating." [Creaig Dunton/Brainwashed]

"For well over a decade now, the Californian noise/drone (de)composer Jim Haynes has pursued a single-minded research into the sound of decay. Shortwave radio transmissions and convulsive motors are a few of the sources that are modulated and amplified into his psychologically tense, hauntological recordings. His 2016 album Flammable Materials From Foreign Lands rises from the eruptive strategies found in John Duncan's extrapolations of empty radio signals with parallels to be found in the mutated electro-acoustic dynamics found in contemporaries like Kevin Drumm and G*Park. One of the foreign lands in question to this flammable album is Estonia where he rummaged through abandoned Soviet-era ruins and collected disquieting shortwave signals. The other land is California with its own darkened psyche they roils beneath the mythologies of eternal sunshine. It's not so much a dialect as an accretion of static, grit and phased electro-magnetic disturbances Ц amplifying the neurosis and anxiety from a slow poisoning through psychological and/or environmental means. The first side of the album is pocked with convulsive crescendos which aggressively shove through Haynes' accumulated materials. The tracks rise to a boiling point, snap at the excessive pressure and collapse into a hypnotic fog. The second side is a single-sided collage of deconstructed/disembodied voice. Haynes clips and chops the mellifluous voice of an Estonian radio host (perhaps Tallinn's answer to Terri Gross?) into elemental gasps and utterances that rhythmically tick against an unsettled minimalism built from long, thin-wire recordings. Here, the strange and unsettled composition of voice and drone hauntingly resembles Alan Lamb's telegraph recordings poured into the empty spaces of Robert Ashley's Automatic Writing." [Stranded]