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Jim Haynes Sever

Touching Extremes by Massimo Ricci, May 2010

     Jim Haynes is not an overly prolific record releaser, so when he decides that his material is ready for publication it must mean something. Thanks to Sever we’re the fortunate receivers of a splendid drone-based album (a reductive definition, in fact), but also witnesses of the definitive authentication of a style that has by now become instantly identifiable. The four movements include all the acoustic gifts that we’ve come to expect from this artist. Crackling, rustling, various kinds of concrete tampering, interference, pulse, competent looping, stretched distortion in turn becoming a tantalizing undercurrent highlighting a multitude of indecipherable additional activities. The whole sounds entirely human, yet somewhat alien.
     What makes everything work in these consistently engaging amalgamations is Haynes' ability of blending ingredients into a unique harmonic richness, which is compatible with the receptive listener’s system in utterly unexplainable fashion. Even the most hypothetically disconcerting emissions have a reason to be exactly there where one finds them and not only exist, but influence the addressees. When a scene is suddenly interrupted there’s no time for remaining deluded because, almost immediately, a new factor of psychological gratification intervenes to raise the level of alertness – until you get numb again, surrounded by the customary mantle of sympathetic frequencies. It goes on and on, comfortingly familiar echoes and ominous signals succeeding without exhaustion. It's magnificent stuff, enriched – in the limited edition reviewed here – by another CD (Severed) whose 17 minutes let us savour some of the original sources with which the composer prepared a new painstaking attempt to dissociate our very selves from the junctures of a cheap reality, once more rewardingly.