Australian artist Joel Stern's Unplugged/Jodphur is an enticing collage in nine parts that blurs the line between taped "natural" sounds and electronic processing. From the onset, it's richly cinematic, with a buffeting wind sharing space with muffled metallic clangs and static interruptions. The music ebbs and rises throughout the disc, with great attention paid to sonic detail and the combination of pillowy and harsh sounds. One will sometimes hear, for example, amorphous throbs paired with splintering slivers of high-pitched tones, forming a delightfully ambivalent and complex texture. Stern also periodically returns to more purely concrète territories which, for the listener, is something like waking from a dream; one is suddenly aware of ambient sounds like birds and faraway voices, and the effect is startling. The listener is pulled back and forth between these poles, sometimes gently, other times with a certain amount of force, even harshness. All told, this makes for a bracing, never less than fascinating journey, and stands Unplugged/Jodphur alongside the work of artists like Lionel Marchetti, which is strong company indeed. Recommended, especially for those interested in the ongoing history and evolution of musique concrète.
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AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick