Jasper Leyland: Wake: Carbon Series Volume 5
12 x 50 Recordings

Wake, Jonathan Brewster's third Jasper Leyland full-length and his contribution to the Carbon Series, downplays slightly the acoustic guitar emphasis of his other releases. In its place there's an equal focus on textural soundscaping that conjures vivid impressions of the outdoors. The sounds of branches snapping underfoot, birds chirping, and distant streams flowing are conjoined to delicate tones and minimal plucks, with Leyland blending field recordings and instrument sounds (zither, accordion, chimes, melodica, guitars) into meditative microsound wholes. In fact, so conspicuous is the relative absence of conventional guitar playing that the sudden intrusion of its loud pluck on “Harrow Fare” halfway through the album comes as a jolt. In “Charcoal Weir,” nature sounds appear alongside minimal instrumental accents and understated processing elements, while the velvety sound of guitar strings contrasts with obsessive sawing noises and scrapes in “Avocet Verse.” The meditative, time-slowed feel of “Taken” suggests the kind of daydreaming reverie one surrenders to when lying in a country field on a summer's afternoon. “Dureé” takes the album's textural evocation dimension to its furthest extreme, with peaceful sounds suggesting the rhythmic clatter of a boat gently knocking against a harbour pier, the hazy buzz of insects, and the faint warble of high-pitched whistles. Brewster's handling of Wake's material is restrained and the feel he nurtures intimate, so much so that listening to the album is much like finding oneself in a disconcertingly still forest and discovering how heightened one's sensitivity to every sound has become in that moment.

April 2008