Kamchatka. JIM HAYNES
(Contour Editions 2012)

Review by Maria Papadomanolaki

Haynes’s work sits between the static and the turbulent. While giving you the impression of non-movement, it’s inner and micro perplexities embrace the ear and the mind with an intent. One that to me sounds like a call to repurpose it’s constituent parts and transpose them to the trivialities of the room I sit in, to make its aural space resound through the walls of mine. Kamchatka experiments with this in-between timespace that sets foot on the fields of the emotional, the psychological and the imagined; a compromise, or rather an attempt, to synthesize sonic traces in order to project, to tell a story and to involve us in the creation of it.

Like messengers that define the space across that moment of compromised listening, the two long form compositions, sustain themselves in time, drone-like as they are while freeing up possibilities for contemplation.


The sound of a Russian steppe forms the vessel of an experience, distilled from Hayne’s gestures and crafted waves. Shortwave inflicted fragments of sound take the shape of voices of men after their brief encounter with the repetitive squeeks and screeches of  “Lilith”, a (demonic) figure that hovers throughout the first piece, titled after her.

Haynes lets the materials he rusts escape his hands and assume their own unidentifiable soundworld. He imagines Kamchatka, a remote land covered in volcanoes, rocks and sea and shortwave radio is the best transporter to accommodate such a fabrication, like phantoms that traverse the latitudes and longitudes of a severely solitary landscape.

Rocks. Hills. Plains

The second piece alludes even more to such an unconventional travel through ghostly stretches of land. “Rocks. Hills. Plains” constantly moves me with an undercurrent turbulence that negates balance, like feet involuntarily sinking into thick masses of snow. A few minutes later I hear the ambiguous troglodyte hum of non-movement melting with the icy coating into shapeless streams of matter. The piece concludes and the transmission chain is abruptly left open: no meanings, no messages for me to construe.  But then again, as Tarkovsky once said, If you look for a meaning, you’ll miss everything that happens, so you can as well disregard whatever you just read and simply listen.


[Jim Haynes; photo courtesy of Decoder]

Jim Haynes website
Contour Editions website

Maria Papadomanolaki

Sound artist, researcher, writer.