Jamie Drouin

Liquid Transmitter – Arboreal; Jeff Carey – index[off]

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Despite being located at opposite ends of the aesthetic / behavioural spectrum, i’ve recently been finding that two new releases pose the same questions about the distinction between long- and short-term listening. In the case of Arboreal, the latest album by Canadian musician Jamie Drouin’s alter ego Liquid Transmitter, this arises out of its affiliation to the conventions of ambient music. Its eight relatively short tracks are all archetypal steady states, setting up simple modes of behaviour that are then maintained for four to five minutes. Furthermore, like its predecessor Meander, which Drouin released a few months back, the emphasis in these states is on their harmonic content. Each piece has a certain kind of modality that defines the limits of its pitch content. The title of Meander was a direct clue to its musical behaviour, and in Arboreal the emphasis of that title is less on the suggestion of multiple tree-like agglomerations (which don’t occur anywhere) than on, in Drouin’s words,

Half-seen limbs plot paths across the night sky – presences made known solely by the patterns in their wake.

This suggests a kind of ‘implied music’, about effect rather than cause. Certainly, the individuality of each piece makes it easy to think of it as a separate ‘limb’ from the others, and their overall behavioural similarity indicates that they are all part of, or offshoots from, the same ‘tree’. But let’s not labour the metaphor: it works but it’s perhaps nicer to keep it as a poetic background layer. Read more

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Liquid Transmitter – Meander

Posted on by 5:4 in CD/Digital releases | Leave a comment

Another mid-length album i’ve recently been immersing myself within is Meander by Liquid Transmitter, nom de guerre for Canadian sound artist Jamie Drouin. Both the title and the artist’s pseudonym are well-suited to the six tracks on this album. They operate in a way that sits on the cusp of what we perceive to be active or passive decision-making, and throughout there’s the distinct impression of sound objects behaving like liquefied matter. These aspects combine to evoke Eno-esque sound environments, and this is no accident: Drouin describes the six pieces as

conceptual retreats from the failings/flailings of the world at large. They function as backdrops to basic activities of the day, elevating these actions, and tinting my living space.

It would be reasonable to think of each of these compositions as a ‘diatonic liquid’, the motes of pitch floating in each one being aligned to and for the most part limited by its respective modality. This effectively bestows on each piece a unique colour palette, so perhaps it’s not too fanciful, considering the combination of liquid, floating and colour, to say that Meander is somewhat akin to the behaviour of a lava lamp. Read more

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