Jim Haynes


(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
Magnetic North (2003), 6/10
Telegraphy By The Sea (2006), 7.5/10
Eraldus/ Eravaldus (2008), 6.5/10
Sever (2009), 6/10
The Decline Effect (2011), 6/10
Kamchatka (2012), 7/10
The Wires Cracked (2013), 6.5/10
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San Francisco-based composer Jim Haynes performed a blurred form of musique concrete in the four-movement suite of Magnetic North (2003), and especially in the 56-minute piece of Telegraphy By The Sea (The Helen Scarsdale Agency, 2006). The first part of the latter is aggressive and hyper-active, a crescendo of dizzying, screaming glissandoes, the digital soundpainting equivalent of heavy metal music. It implodes in a slowly-mutating drone that populates the soundscape with other harsh industrial drones, a swarm of poisonous radiations that grows into a dense maelstrom of crackling, thudding noises. The scene suddenly turns to an apocalyptic sci-fi soundtrack ominous vibrations and distant astronaut-like voices roaming the darkest void.

The two pieces of Eraldus/ Eravaldus (Elevator Bath, 2008) Eraldus begins with the rumble of an approaching storm but soon an alien object appears, a screeching grinding noise that detroys any other presence. When it dissipates, what is left is just metallic echoes of marching machines. The ear-splitting drones of Eravaldus (one of his emotional peaks) creates extreme tension, like a million crickets attacking a carrion, and then, almost like a Doppler effect, the sound shifts into a no less disturbing massive hiss, although a strange celestial quality emerges at the end.

By the time the double-disc Sever (Intransitive, 2009) came out, his soundscapes had become gloomy and incoherent as in the last moments of a dying person. The 18-minute bonus track Severed was originally the soundtrack to the installation from which the four pieces of Sever evolved.

The Decline Effect (The Helen Scarsdale Agency, 2011) contains the film soundtrack Ashes, the musique concrete of Terminal (that employs geysers as raw material), the white noise of Half Life, and Cold for plucked buzzing wires.

Kamchatka (Contour Editions, 2012) contains a suite inspired by the landscape of Kamchatka, the 21-minute Lilith, one of his most dynamic symphonies of loose cryptic noise, alien industrial drone and found sounds splattered all over the place, and the 30-minute ambient glitch poem Rocks Hills Plains (2008), originally a film soundtrack, evoking, yet again, the suspended silence of a dying person as well as, yet again, the barren landscape of a post-apocalyptic planet.

The Wires Cracked (Mego, 2013) contains three pieces for fields recordings: "the desolate howl of a metal screen activated by a desert wind, the hissing air compression from the cooling apparatus for a laser at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory operated by Stanford University, and the tremolo rhythms from a thin wire". The 14-minute X-Ray and the 18-minute November (a lugubrious, funereal, angst-filled cinematic score) rank among his most successful collages.

By comparison with his previous works, the relaxed The Incident With A Ghost (Hooker Vision, 2013) was user-friendly ambient music.

The Shudder Of Velocity (Noisendo, 2014) and Scarlet (Helen Scarsdale, 2015) were both sponsored by the Helen Scarsdale Agency of New York,

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(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions )
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