Jim Haynes
The Decline Effect
2LP HMS 021

Foxy Digitalis
January 2012

Like the copious amounts of salt keeping roads unslicked during a Chicago winter, Jim Haynes rusts things. This, at least, is how the Bay Area artist describes his musical process, which on The Decline Effect yields four impressively bleached and textured drones—a strikingly interesting album that is essential listening for anyone interested in current currents of minimalism. The album’s title refers to a statistical phenomenon in investigations of ESP and psychokinesis. Although initial findings may support a claim to these powers, as they are tested, the findings inevitably are blurred, skewed, and discredited. This “ontological disappearing act” has striking implications for Haynes’ music. You hear something and because you listen for it more closely, it vanishes. Haynes focuses on electroacoustic processes of decay, starting with organic and electronic sources: recordings of geysers on “Terminal,” wire recordings and radios on “Cold,” motors, Geiger counters. These are decomposed meticulously, but the end result is a series of beautiful, haunting, vaguely dangerous textures. Sometimes these resemble familiar sounds—lighting a match, a propeller plane, or animal noises. But, like the appearance of the Virgin Mary on a water-stained wall, they’re only fleeting moments in the grander process of erosion. -- Travis Bird