Co-incidents. JEPH JERMAN

Review by Patrick Farmer

Gulched and overgrown – Matters flat.

Jeph Jerman is a hearty artist. He knows when to embrace and senses the distance required. There is little evidence of suffocation in his work; remarkable considering the stature of his discography, almost as if the recordings have grown themselves; shouting as is necessary, into their ears louder, than Jerman can experience, willingly accepting the ineludible object… Such is the light in the SouthWest.

I’m curious as to whether the title, co-incidents, a new work, came about before or after the recordings – denoting the paradoxical role of Jerman’s work here, pondering that silence is in fact loud in attention. I would take the latter – ‘incidents’ – as proposing the ever-continuous action of vibration, and the – ‘co’ – as such inseperability of environment and imagination, all of which contained in the temporality of a footprint. These interpretations are specifically gleaned from the recordings of course.

To present two works, in absentia, as is here the case, requires a great deal of control and humility, braced as we listeners often are, to wallow in the waters of instant gratification and to marvel at the ass’s ears, and braying at anything that will or will not listen, when the water dries up. Here I feel the sounds are never themselves, the uncanny elements I am assuming to be Aeolian, though there is more to it than that, fittingly, creating the mind of the listener, an otherworldly sense bereft of the whiff of human rhythm and that unavoidable ‘tick’ so often felt as the individual shifts in momentum, unable to escape his hurry. It’s prudent to recall that Jerman’s percussive work, I draw a line where really I feel there is no need, can often appear somehow devoid of human presence and motion, so subtle is his virtuosity, for want of a better way of putting it, when taking notice of the letting go.

I consider this concept, knowing when ones presence is not required, but not forgetting that it will always exist, reminiscent of slight few works, one of which being Ami Yoshida’s動, that can be found in the microcosms that Krasznahorkai heard so well when he wrote of:

“…the working of tired muscles; in the silence, in its human subjects, in the undulating surface of the metaled road; in the hair moving to a different beat than do the dissolving fibres of the body; growth and decay on their divergent paths…”

We have two elements well wrapped in distortion, though this took me far from distraction, adding to the measure of instability and extracting the assurance of listening. In the one hand is a certainty of representation, heard through what could only be a clipping microphone, but in the other (and as a result, this experience feels, not just is, but feels, completely new) a removal that can lead the listener to consider these sounds, environments, in ways they don’t quite understand.

William Carlos Williams called the French poet Rene Char, a poet who cannot pause – in such distinct light I will call Jeph Jerman, enfolded. A person who possesses the intelligence to let situations pronounce and react themselves and to know he is himself a situation.

[Jeph Jerman, photo courtesy of Last FM]

Jeph Jerman website