I've Lost: From These Hands
Heart and Soul Publishers

Fresh from a collaboration with Birds of Passage (Split on Heat Death Records), Oregon's Bobby Jones (aka I've Lost) presents another project rooted in collaboration, if in slightly different form. In this case, all of the music is credited to I've Lost but the multi-sensory release comes with a poem by Leonardo Rosado, who also designed the release, and ten poem-based illustrations by Ivo Hoogveld. The I've Lost sound is undeniably minimal—much of the recording is solely guitar-generated, with various effects adding to the instrument's elaborate presentation—yet also powerfully heartfelt. A major part of the music's impact and thus the recording's success stems from the emotional quality Jones imparts in his tremolo-laden guitar atmospherics. He often fashions his guitar lines so that they're voiced with a quaver, which amplifies their expressiveness.

“And I Saw Her Again, Then She Was Gone” and “First Fall” are especially lovely in the way Jones multiplies the guitar's plaintive lines until delicate fields of pealing figures form. In their own quiet way, the elements breathe insistently, and grow supplicating as they do so. A slightly harder-edged attack distinguishes “The Sand” from the recording's other six pieces, with Jones's guitar playing possessing a raw quality absent elsewhere. The penultimate piece, “I Am All Things Yet To Be Shaped,” also distances itself from the rest of the album in overlaying its droning backdrop with a recitation of Rosado's poem, which he fashioned, incidentally, in response to the music Jones created (a sampling: “I am all things yet to be shaped / The grain of sand yet to become a desert / The drop of water waiting for the storm / The spark of light at the tallest hour of the winter night”). The last two tracks compose half of the fifty-four-minute recording's running time and consequently offer the most in-depth portrait of the I've Lost style. In doing so, the closing instrumental, “Winter,” reveals a strong connection to Eno's ambient music, despite the fact that guitar isn't a predominating voice in his solo ambient recordings. There are moments during this final piece, however, that could be seamlessly transplanted into one of the more serene settings on Fripp & Eno's Evening Star without anyone batting an eye. Listeners interested in the release shouldn't wait too long, as only two limited editions have been prepared, the first of which (50 copies) features one illustration and the deluxe version (25 copies) all ten.

June 2012