Hessien – Skurjn (Handstitched*)

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The long-distance collaboration between “acoustic noise artist” Charles Sage in Australia and Tim Diagram of the band Maps and Diagrams in the UK, Hessien makes its debut with a 20-minute EP limited to 100 copies in hand-stitched cork sleeves. (It will eventually see digital release, though). Recorded either late at night or early in the morning – depending upon which side of the time difference you look at – these compositions feel cast in a fitting sort of half-light. Manipulated field recordings are mingled with strands of acoustic guitar and hazy effects, blurring the lines between all of those ingredients.

The EP is steeped in quietude, starting with the shivering “When I Look Down 3′ and the especially translucent “The Blundering Pilot’. The middle track, “Small Earthquakes’ is more atmospheric than the others, while “Neroli Orange Blossom’ is slightly disconcerting somehow yet still quietly vibrant. Each could be a mirage, always wavering and never quite revealing its true form. The closing title track has a lullaby quality to it, and there are similar moments of tranquility elsewhere on Skurjn. Yet there’ an air of uncertainty to it, thanks to so many tiny, fleeting details.

Doug Wallen

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