JOHN DUNCAN / MICHAEL ESPOSITO / Z’EV – There Must Be A Way Across This River / The Abject

Fragment Factory

There’s always a great degree of mystery hovering in the air whenever names like John Duncan and Z’EV are featured in a release. But if they’re joined by Michael Esposito, an expert in Electronic Voice Phenomena whose family roots belong to the same tree of Alfred Vail (co-inventor of the Morse Code), the haze surrounding the implied meanings becomes even thicker. This LP comprises two fine examples of exploration of the area where reality and imagination merge with a strong aid from the listener’s psyche, the result’s efficacy depending on its inherent predispositions and overall level of stress. Side A contains a piece originally conceived for an installation, a pre-recorded voice on a reel-to-reel machine eerily whispering a text in a room so cold that the participants might freeze if not wearing heavy jackets. The multiplicity of dimensions is expressed through a progression starting with irregular “industrial” emissions preceding Duncan’s nearly toneless accent reciting the words. Subsequently, we experience a gradual descent towards an underworld of perceived threat, the American’s renowned shortwave treatments appearing as a vibrational equalizer of sorts. The second track was entirely built by using thirty seconds of EVPs captured by Esposito at Duncan’s childhood home in Chicago, the story being that the current owner first accepted then declined the duo’s visit aimed at doing some recordings. Apparently, during the conversation in which the EVPs were taped, medium Heidi Harman heard Duncan’s name called several times. Z’EV’s assembling work enhances the ghostly traits of the whole, stretching the phonemes and layering them in a haunting tapestry of very few lights and many shadows.

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