The latest release by Australian reeds player Jim Denley combines two recordings of installation work, featuring the sounds of ‘100 snails and a balloonsax’. I can’t place the snails, but the mumbled breath squeezed through much of Your Breath On My Lips could well be derived from a balloon.
Denley clearly works from the European free improv school, where process and extended technique overrides musical result, and a such its difficult to derive much interest or pleasure from this as a recording. Earthy taps and clunks, fingers tapping a pipe? are layered over a breathy, fractured drone, sounding as though recorded through a PVC pipe. Denley’s – or the balloon’s – breathing is prominent throughout, concluding by echoing the purrs of an idling motorbike. Denley has been touring the work in small venues, and I imagine seeing it, or a variant, executed live could be more engaging.