Antanas Jasenka

An Artist and a Plane

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Antanas Jasenka's second album for Electroshock Records is a fascinating work showing a lot of resourcefulness and angst. Yes, it is fierce and occasionally harsh and dirty, more so than his debut CD, Deus Ex Machina. The album consists of two extended works. "Artac" is presented in five movements, for a total duration of 41 minutes. It features a lot of sound sources, from snippets of recorded music (piano, strings) to communications-related noises (telephone, radio), digital electronics, and the voice of Rita Marija Malikonyte reciting a poem about sound transmission. The work stands somewhere between electroacoustics, the German-Austrian axis of experimental electronica, and the drone music of the cassette underground legacy. The movements "Transmitter" and "Skyjack Air" stand out, the former for its thick slabs of noise, the second for its quiet, serene beauty. The piece gives the impression of something youthful yet very mature and thoroughly thought over. The second work is "Electronic Sutartines" (20 minutes). Sutartines is the traditional style of polyphonic singing in Lithuania, Jasenka's homeland. The vocal ensemble Trys Keturiose provided the source material for the piece, but voice is hardly detectable as an element in itself. Backward talking appears in a few places, some dense drones sound like they've been derived from massed singing voices, but otherwise the work sounds much more electrical than vocal in nature. Buzzes, hums, clicks, and glitches form the core of the piece, along with several drones and outbursts of noise worthy of Merzbow himself in the second half of the piece. It leaves the listener bewildered and confused, but in retrospect it doesn't lessen the strength of "Artac."

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