A.F. JONES – Languor Yields (2 Compositions)


“A ceaseless stream of dialogue, loyal to the noise”.

This superb sentence is found in the notes to “Apparatchiks”, the first of two impressive pieces gifted to us by Alan Jones. The California-based composer – a rather central role by now, as opposed to him being remembered as the former editor of Bagatellen – has been increasingly productive in the last years, setting the scope of his art at over-average levels. The initial impression received from this record was an immediate acknowledgement of the implicit signs that distinguish works born after extended periods of gestation and rethinking; this was indeed the case, as confirmed by Jones himself. A lesson for those who use an open-source software and a couple of deformed samples as means to achieve theoretical fame. Even if the links above permit to get acquainted with the origins of the aforementioned track and also to listen to the whole release’s streaming, I am going to stress that Languor Yields needs to be acquired in the best possible quality, conscientiously scrutinized and duly absorbed, possibly via a more-than-decent audio setup or excellent headphones; a severe vibrational impact will be experienced. Jones’ confidence with the secrets of a recording studio make sure that his visions are translated with eloquent accuracy; this album packs a serious punch from beginning to end.

In “Apparatchiks” we’re overwhelmed by a combination of reciting voices – all by the deus ex machina, owner of a splendid vocal tone – and frequency layers of varying descent. Skewed howls and powerful drones – courtesy of Christian Weber’s arco – are brilliantly counterpointed by Meridian, the percussion trio of Tim Feeney, Sarah Hennies, and Greg Stuart. Before looking for associations – and I believe that there are none, for the piece’s temperament is genuinely unconventional – the wish of remaining sheltered by the textural agglomeration emerges. The relentless realism may direct the weaker minds towards the borders of anguish, whereas a receptive individual – perhaps used to the mute fight between love in its purest form and the awareness of its utter pointlessness in everyday’s relationships – will be repaid by a sense of inside richness. This raw beauty is substantiated by the accumulation of instrumental impurity and fluxes of words that become difficult to follow in their independent paths, still-visible trajectories destined to perish in the nowhere of the intellect. “Tinctures: 6.34’” finds Jones as a percussionist, together with Nick Lesley; Cristián Alvear’s guitar and Tyler J. Borden’s cello complete the lineup. In this episode the introspective feelings are magnified by fixed pitches and humming matters; in truth, we had a hard time to tell an eBowed string from a stretched Tibetan bell harmonic, if there were any. The background activity – comprising a variety of jangling/clattering objects, little bells and so on – is a gently disruptive complement to a foundation of held undertones and healthy occlusiveness. In the final minutes, sparse plucks by Weber spot what sounds like a marine wash; but it’s just noise, a marvelous noise of solitariness. The lingering image is that of a parallel microcosm whose language is rooted in the fibre of the upper partials, and where the lone acceptable behavior is listening attentively.

Posted in Uncategorized