The Infant Cycle: A Mysterious Disc
The Ceiling

The Infant Cycle: Secret Hidden Message
Drone Records

The Infant Cycle (real name Jim DeJong) weighs in with two new releases, a forty-five-minute set titled A Mysterious Disc and an alluring seven-inch called Secret Hidden Message pressed on clear grey vinyl. The former appears on DeJong's own Hamilton, Ontario-based imprint The Ceiling while the latter comes to us courtesy of Bremen , Germany 's Drone Records. In operation since 1992, The Infant Cycle has built up an impressive catalogue of releases, including Rural Sprawl, a recent full-length collaboration with Aidan Baker issued on the Russian label Zhelezobeton.

DeJong chose to include no information with A Mysterious Disc, preferring instead that the listener hear it unencumbered by recording details, so one can only speculate as to the sound sources used to generate the six pieces. However, info accompanying the EP indicates that trombone, guitar, wind chimes, marimba, organ, and bird cage were among the materials deployed for its three pieces so one presumes sources as idiosyncratic were used for the CD tracks. Of course it's all moot at this juncture anyway, given the radical transformations any originating sound can accrue through digital treatments. The first and fourth pieces present long, flowing swathes of elegant sweep and the third a hollowed-out, wavering slab of grime haunted by faint melodies. The dominant piece at eighteen minutes, track five scatters soft ripples across lulling industrial trails suggestive of an airplane flying distantly overhead, while the sixth is a one-minute exeunt of minor consequence assembled from comparatively identifiable sounds (water, creaking door).

The EP's three pieces (two created in October, 2006 and the other six years earlier) are similar in kind to the CD material and so make a natural complement to it. In the rather gelatinous “Secret Hidden Message,” loops of lapping clicks simulate a carved-out groove while a steely, encrusted drone unspools alongside, after which the electric organ-driven “(And Then The Dog Replied)” rumbles and shimmers for two minutes. DeJong created the B-side's “Trombone” using the title instrument as the sole sound source but, as one would expect, the seven-minute piece offers nothing remotely like a Glen Miller solo but rather the droning, hollowed-out churn of corroded industrial machinery. Don't be thrown by DeJong's affinity for unusual sound sources; the material generated from them isn't off-putting in the least.

March 2009