2009 Ten Favourite Labels
Simon Scott's Navigare
Traxx's 10 Chicago Tracks

Matt Bartram
Bell Horses
Broadcast & Focus Group
Angus Carlyle
Ytre Rymden Dansskola
Do Make Say Think
Isnaj Dui
Shane Fahey
Jan Garbarek Group
Lisa Germano
Rachel Grimes
Christopher Jion
P Jørgensen
Leyland Kirby
Elisa Luu
Mountain Ocean Sun
Marcello Napoletano
Andy Nice
Rameses III
Sankt Otten
Danny Saul
Simon Scott
Sleep Whale
Susanna & Magical Orch.
Claude VonStroke

Compilations / Mixes
Favourite Places 2
Music For Mathematics
Snuggle & Slap
Sander Kleinenberg 2

DJ Bone
DJ Nasty
Duque and Baxter
Ghenacia & Djebali
Kez YM
King Roc
Vadim Lankov
Lavender Ticklesoft
Lo-Fi Soundsystem
Niko Marks
Mark Templeton

Christopher Jion: This Creature Sleeps Beyond the Flow of Time
Dirgefunk Records

Christopher Jion: Brain Geodes
Dirgefunk Records

Two electronic releases by Dirgefunk Records head Christopher Jion, one a single-track ambient excursion and the other an eleven-song collection of arcade-styled set-pieces.

Jion characterizes This Creature Sleeps Beyond The Flow Of Time (issued in March 2009) as “(m)usic for sleeping,” and it's certainly easy enough to imagine oneself drifting into slumber during the quieter moments of the seventy-two-minute ambient recording. Its component parts fold in on themselves constantly, making the album feel like an endless loop, which in turn prompts one to re-calibrate one's listening disposition and attune oneself to the uninterrupted flow. Bird sounds briefly appear at the beginning before reverberant synthesizer tones of a windswept, willowy, and vaporous character appear that are in turn intermittently joined by rapid heartbeat pulsations, which ensure that no one'll nod off for longer than a minute or two. Wrapped in an gauzy glow, the music exudes an aquatic and submersive quality that makes the listener feel as if he/she is adrift on a slow-motion wave rushing ceasefully forward.

Programmed and recorded in real-time in one sitting in March 2008 (with Nanoloop 1.3 and a Zoom RFX-2000 multi-effect processor as gear), Jion's Brain Geodes is a radically different animal altogether. Like precision-tuned time-pieces, chiming keyboard melodies intertwine in clockwork formation for seventy-seven radiant minutes in a collection that's anything but a “sleeping pill.” The tracks' dancing staccato patterns lend the album a strong rhythmic thrust despite the absence of actual beat elements in some tracks. Plodding electro-beats appear in some pieces (“Grass Walker”) while hard techno rhythms pound throughout the ten-minute “The Hero.” “Cave Diamonds” douses its lockstep patterns with a reverb cloud that's not so thick that the track's crystalline melodies aren't able to shine through. Beseiged by percussive splashes, “Shiny Blue Bricks” swells into a dizzying whirligig, while “Climb The Chain” and “The Hero” are, if anything, even more frenzied in their rapid cross-firing of hammering keyboard patterns (“The Hero” is so relentless and unsparing in its attack, it feels like a descent into insanity given aural form). A zenith of sorts is reached in the penultimate “Water & Concrete,” which broils and combusts for eleven minutes. Sensitive to the problem that restricting himself to relatively circumscribed sound-generating resources could create, Jion prevents sameness from setting in by switching up the tracks' stylistic forms as the (admittedly overlong) album unfolds. Some pieces, in fact, are so intense and hit so hard they could seamlessly accommodate a transcription into a punk form (note the hint of synthetic thrash in the wiry funk workouts “Crystalline Heart” and “Nephophobic,” for example).

November 2009