lessons in time e.p. review

Beginnings with chance happenings, at hand materials, creation from nothing, minimal equipment (inbuilt iMac microphone), field recordings, simple folk guitar, the harmonic backings of his sister(?) Jenna, and heartfelt lyrical content delivered with a naïve intonation is where 17 year old Blake Wassell begins. You may only wonder if before this age he has any knowledge of chance operation speculation, exposure to Steve Reich, the I Ching or even Edmund Husserl to arrive at this point yet I suspect he arrived there without any overt guides. Yet arrived he has with tracks such as Light is Sweet, whose easy and obvious virtue strums it’s lullaby to the ear. Even the youth in the packaging, notation paper, home sewn and printed in a stroke of whimsy is demonstrative of early exploration.

It is that Wassell has arrived to areas of music, environmental recordings, the creation of music from found sounds, that reside in high art domain without artifice and combined them with a folk sensibility. Without cluttered knowledge impeding direct communication, the track How very good this feeling is with its adjoiner, ‘understanding honesty’ is a clear summation of the direction to expect and be rewarded from listening to Lessons in Time now and in the future. A good deal of voice training could be brought to bear to improve his technique, but here the absence suits the mood of the piece as an aesthetic entity. It would seem that the mastering of Adrian Elmer has brought it a greater sonic depth without disturbing the simplicity of the beginnings of talent.

Cyclic Defrost
March 2009


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