Simon Whetham
From The Mouths Of Clay
Cassette HMS029

Secret Decoder
October 2014

Currently based in Bristol, UK, Simon Whetham has been creating deeply subtle and expansive works focusing on a wide range of densely meditations, largely using a palette of pure drone and field recordings. For the last near-decade and through pieces issued by an array of high minded imprints (Line, Entr’acte, Trente Oiseaux, et al.), Whetham’s charted a rather sprawling body of work. The latest chapter in Whetham’s narrative comes with From the Mouths of Clay, an hour-long epic that hosts an almost unbearable sense of dread captured using physical artifacts. Inspired by the patient, situational recording efforts of Alvin Lucier and Nicholas Collins and spiritually akin to modern peers like Jacob Kirkegaard, Whetham sought out to produce this latest work using “found objects, discarded technology and methods of his working practice.” In this case, Whetham sourced his drones from internal resonances of three prehispanic burial urns. Enabled by a newly-minted residency curated by the Museo Universitario de la Universidad de Antioquia and Casa Tres Patios in Medellín, Colombia, the tape’s two parts give a haunting performance via haunted objects. Sustained tones emit inwardly and outwardly in a dreadful but gorgeous display that resonates into infinity. Vibrant frequencies lace doom-laden lows in a resonating symphony that reflects on death as an ongoing affair. Intermittent static and ephemeral noise cloud the air with unsettling texture, forcing a blighted shift in action. Elsewhere, Whetham lets the chiming urns play their haunted songs without any processing whatsoever. It’s a fascinating bit of aural meditation. From the Mouths of Clay is due out Oct. 14 via The Helen Scarsdale Agency. -- Bobby Power