Jim O'Rourke

Scend

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

First released on CD by Divided in 1992 and reissued on vinyl 11 years later by Three Poplars, Scend is a beautiful piece of field recordings, very different from Jim O'Rourke's other albums (which already display a wide variety of styles and approaches). Field recordings of various nature are combined into a loose narrative. It sounds simple, but giving sense to the construction is where the art resides, and O'Rourke nails it with impressive results. In the first half of the piece you mostly hear water sounds and bowed metal. An accordion lets out a lone winding note, answered by the passing siren of an ambulance. Traffic noise is replaced by falling water drops in the very end of the first part. This assemblage runs smoothly and seamlessly, retaining the feel of field recording throughout (i.e., if electroacoustic transformations are involved, it doesn't show). The first half could be described as cold or devoid of human presence (save for the traffic sounds) compared to the second half. It begins with a playground recording. A passing airplane buries the children's laughter, soon abruptly cut by something (crate? door?) shut close. This sudden move introduces a section of electronic sounds, startling at first considering what came before but interesting and pertinent nonetheless, adding more human presence as the hand of the composer is felt for the first time. Church bells seep in for the finale. Recommended. [The LP edition is pressed on clear vinyl.]

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
20:55
2
19:00
blue highlight denotes track pick