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July 12, 2024

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May 12" (Jliat Records)

By: Jeb Branin

Is there music to be found in non-linear, non-structured drone? James Whitehead shows once again that indeed there is. JLIAT is his post-modernist musical creation that rejects all preconceived notions as to musical construction and explores sound for its own sake. On two previous JLIAT releases "The Nature of Nature" and "16:05:94" James performs a solitary note drone that without variance of meter, pitch, rhythm, or harmony still manages to evoke response. I was fascinated by the individuality of the his approach. As I experienced the drone my mind began to artificially modulate the sound in a vain attempt to apply some sort of familiar structure to the tone. Each listen produced a different variant as my brain flip flopped trying to make sense of it. This new recording, "May", is essentially the same thing, except that this time the drone has more depth to it. It is layered and textured so that the sound is fuller although no less minimalistic. This 12" piece of vinyl contains two pieces: "May," which is pure drone, and "Variation," which is the same concept but with a fade-in at the beginning that fools the ears into believing there is a rise to climax, which of course there isn't. Whitehead identifies the sculpture work of Richard Serra as inspiration. You can read about and see some of Serra's noted "Torqued Ellipses" sculptures at Fans of minimalism and noise shouldn't overlook JLIAT or his recordings.
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