The opening piece Favourite purposely pisses you off, a low repetitive cyclical drone begins, forcing you to adjust the volume and then a short abrupt aggressive jolt comes unexpectedly at a ridiculously higher volume. It’s music that doesn’t want to be friends with you, and it’s a highly provocative act that is a sledgehammer technique devised to make you uneasy. Later this white digital noise is developed gradually increasing in volume, and this kind of ramp up reminiscent of Thembi Soddell is much more welcome. The abrupt pre crescendo cut to finish the piece emphasises the sound art techniques at play here, yet there is also an improvised feel to many of the pieces and a dark ambient electroacoustic approach that focusses on dark synthetic rumbles, drones and textures.
Juarez is the solo project of Jessica Pinney, one half of Johnny Saw Horses, who offers up four pieces of dark edgy ambience on her debut release for Melbourne label Sabbatical.
Later on the longest piece Lex she involves her voice, a lazy stoned wail, moaning and muttering, heavily delayed over this gorgeous looped bubbling electronica that seems to just drift along in waves. As it progresses the voice becomes shrill and dominating, almost like she is having a tantrum after her version of seduction hasn’t worked. This the sledgehammer again, there’s no subtlety here, it just becomes difficult and uncomfortable. Later she loses the vocals and lets the bubbles coalesce with a bottom heavy throb and it becomes much more interesting.
The final piece What I’d Do is the most musical, though in a very lose and scattered way. A plodding metronomic beat and evolving vocal melody actually interact cleverly with processed electronics and keys. It’s like a kind of sea shanty nurse rhyme that builds into a bizarre drone of scattered noise and it’s evolution is nothing short of compelling. It’s definitely the highlight of this album, which comes across as a collection of Pinney’s improvisations and sonic experiments, some of the directions are curious, others need a little more development.
Bob Baker Fish