The figure of Jez riley French is discreetly omnipresent and somewhat mysterious in the domain of unconventional sounds. Or – sometimes – conventional, but revealed in their most intimate and hidden components. A deeply human and implausibly active artist, French is a cross-pollination of sonic researcher and inventor (do your homework to learn more). A title like Audible Silence was already enough to stimulate the attention of your host, who had somehow understood even before starting to listen where our man intended to strike.
A short stretch of the Yorkshire composer’s self-introduction is indicative. “I am particularly associated with the development of extended recording techniques, including the recording of structural vibrations, contact microphone recording, ultrasonics, infrasonics, internal electronic signals via coil pick-up’s and recordings made with hydrophones”. This five-track collection impeccably symbolizes the above description, allowing the listener to experience the vibrational quintessence of theoretically unresponsive materials.
What is perceived is rich in inner quivering, in frequencies that considerably compress the ear membranes while using each corner of the room as a reflector, slowly but surely taking control of the boundary between conscious and unconscious. The amalgamation of subsonic pulsations and dampened humming of resonant bodies generates moaning thrums and extracorporeal laments, gradually excluding the mind from the equation. As always, the intrinsic wisdom conveyed by selected acoustic phenomena overcomes the need for an “explanation” replete with verbal protuberances disseminating nothing but banalities and clichés. To quote French himself again, what is sufficient for one’s growth is “sitting somewhere, watching and listening to life”. Not many seem to understand this simple truth. It’s the lone significant training for the transition into our next state, beyond the failure of ego-propelled ideals.