Jim Haynes - Flammable Materials From Foreign Lands LP


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Label: Elevator Bath

Our Review:

For well over a decade now, the Californian noise/drone (de)composer Jim Haynes has pursued a single-minded research into the sound of decay. Shortwave radio transmissions and convulsive motors are a few of the sources that are modulated and amplified into his psychologically tense, hauntological recordings. His 2016 album Flammable Materials From Foreign Lands rises from the eruptive strategies found in John Duncan's extrapolations of empty radio signals with parallels to be found in the mutated electro-acoustic dynamics found in contemporaries like Kevin Drumm and G*Park. One of the foreign lands in question to this flammable album is Estonia where he rummaged through abandoned Soviet-era ruins and collected disquieting shortwave signals. The other land is California with its own darkened psyche they roils beneath the mythologies of eternal sunshine. It's not so much a dialect as an accretion of static, grit and phased electro-magnetic disturbances – amplifying the neurosis and anxiety from a slow poisoning through psychological and/or environmental means. The first side of the album is pocked with convulsive crescendos which aggressively shove through Haynes' accumulated materials. The tracks rise to a boiling point, snap at the excessive pressure and collapse into a hypnotic fog. The second side is a single-sided collage of deconstructed/disembodied voice. Haynes clips and chops the mellifluous voice of an Estonian radio host (perhaps Tallinn's answer to Terri Gross?) into elemental gasps and utterances that rhythmically tick against an unsettled minimalism built from long, thin-wire recordings. Here, the strange and unsettled composition of voice and drone hauntingly resembles Alan Lamb's telegraph recordings poured into the empty spaces of Robert Ashley's Automatic Writing.