Accelera Deck: Sunstrings
Scarcelight Recordings

Accelera Deck: Ski
Scarcelight Recordings

One is never quite sure what particular stylistic persona Chris Jeely (aka Accelera Deck) will embrace on a given release. As 2003's Ipsissima Vox showed, he's just as capable of creating wailing guitar noise as he is ambient idylls. Sunstrings and the more recent Ski present strong evidence of that broad range.

With three formal pieces totaling thirty-three minutes joined by a fifteen minute hidden track, Jeely's 2004 Sunstrings 'EP' seems an oddity even before its first note sounds, but that merely sets the stage for the challenging ride ahead. Using guitar, oscillator, and computer, he generates a seething, sometimes corrosive roar in the most daunting piece, the seventeen-minute opener “Dross,” yet the crushing arsenal of noise Jeely coaxes is amazing if not necessarily pleasant. This writhing excursion fractures by turn into prickly caterwauls of abrasive splatter, buzzing slabs, insectile ripples, grinding glissandi, and thorny swarms—the sonic portrait of a machine writhing in pain as it's torn to pieces. When a brief prelude in the fifteen-minute “Sunstrings” takes a hiccupping pause before unleashing a mammoth drone, one might think that the merciless attack of the opener will continue. But coming after “Dross,” the drone's cresting waves and ringing overtones sound downright musical; the piece expires altogether at the halfway point, replaced by softer, squirrelly skitter that rises from the smoldering ashes before gradually fading away. At less than a minute, “777” is constituted by little more than a few scattered bleeps, while a hidden track presents scattered flickers of rustles and scrapes that gradually coalesce into overlapping babble.

He takes a less jarring route on the 3-inch disc Ski by concocting a single ambient excursion of becalmed, bucolic guitar stutter and flutter, with an occasional bird twitter audible in the distance. The piece (a promising foretaste of his upcoming full-length Pop Polling, as it turns out) almost imperceptibly changes over the course of its thirteen minutes, with skittish fragments of electric guitar and a gently lapping patter rising to the forefront in its later moments, while other elements recede into the background before expiring altogether.

Of the two discs, Sunstrings is obviously the bolder if more demanding listen but, frankly, the ideal scenario would find “Floss,” “Ski,” and “Sunstrings” collected onto a mini-album. The result would be a logical extension to Ipsissima Vox as well as a representative indication of Jeely's broad stylistic breadth.

February 2005