Jason Lescalleet - Music For Magnetic Tape (Arbor Infinity, 2010)
Update: It has just been brought to my attention that the cassette is now available through Arbor Infinity’s website.
Simplicity, when employed properly, has an elegance that transcends the richest of complexities. For all of the beauty contained within deep, elaborate constructs, intuitive, original simplifications often have a more lasting hold. This thought is far from original, being a princeps of minimalism; however, its power warrants frequent restatement.
Jason Lescalleet has been a number of sounds throughout his career: a bit noisier when playing with Joe Colley or Greg Kelley, a bit more abstract when playing with Graham Lambkin. This solo cassette on Arbor Infinity finds Jason at his most restrained, offering simple yet deeply affecting manipulations to tape loops. While very little is apparently happening, the two sides of Music For Magnetic Tape are far from banal. I’ve been so ensnared by its allure that I’ve listened to it as I fall asleep for weeks, viewing the cassette as a devilish little lullaby.
The A side, “Waves,” is a loop of impressionistic solo piano, to which Jason slowly treats. Like Jason’s two albums with Graham Lambkin, “Waves” is a manifestation of Lescalleets penchant for dark humor and active subversion in his music. For three minutes, the piano’s tones drip into digital obfuscation until finally, exactly at the three minute mark, its sound is so strained that the re-ignition of the loop bursts into an artificial drone. After minutes of reverberation, the loop reconstructs itself into its organic, original form then defers to silence.
"Staring at the Sun’s Reflection in the Water" is more collegial piece. For ten minutes, it meanders through gorgeous ambience, inviting peaceful slumber instead of shattering it, like "Waves." Seldom oscillating between notes, and slowly when it does, this B side is even more of a reduced form than its opposite, in spite of its denser sound—an engrossing example of the merits of minimalism.
This album has been available for purchase as early as last fall; however, Jason has informed me that it has yet to get a full release from Arbor Infinity. So while Music For Magnetic Tape cannot be ordered from Arbor’s website at the moment, I suggest the interested keep an eye peeled.