| Jim Haynes Telegraphy
by the Sea
by Kevin Macneil Brown
Magazine, January 2007
San Francisco-based composer and multimedia installation artist
Jim Haynes quite vividly describes his methodology as one
of "rust"; to rust, that is, as a verb. Certainly
the sonic equivalents to rust, decay and dereliction are at
the heart of his sound art. Beyond the quite beautiful hand-pressed
limited edition packaging, Telegraphy By The Sea on CD contains
nearly an hour of crackling static, shifting drones, sibilant
hissings, and plaintive cries that sound part machine, part
avian. The overall effect might make one think of some vast
industrial zone slipping slowly into the organic processes
of a primeval swamp, or of oceans rising slowly and gently
in a gray, destructive - yet oddly alluring - haze.
Of course, the strength of sonic art like this often lies
in its very ambiguity: What I hear will most likely not be
what you hear. And Haynes's own particular strength
lies in his tactile sense of sound as object. These sounds
are not textures or tints so much as they are actual materials:
they seem worked and wrought: scraped, polished; welded, hammered;
pounded, dented, broken.
There is a section late in the piece where lovely, harmonically
consonant and hollowly radiant drones give way to broken fields
of short-wave radio transmission: nearly incomprehensible
voices speaking, all but lost in the ratio of signal to noise.
The sudden, albeit distant, revelation of something like human
communication arrives like an epiphany. But as it continues,
the epiphany is eventually subsumed into enigma and ambiguity
once again. A powerful shift of perception has occurred.
It's perceptive shifts like this, along with that messy,
noisy, alluring gray haze, that make me want to return to
Telegraphy By The Sea and listen yet again.