Boomkat Product Review:
Disengage is a powerful early iteration of Jim O’Rourke’s work straddling systems-based guitar music, computer electronics and field recordings. It was issued in 1992 and has remained a cult, sorely-overlooked, classic in his catalogue ever since.
Disengage is as deep as it is broad, marking up to almost two hours of perception-baiting electro-acoustic music in two main movements. Like much of O’Rourke’s catalogue, the two pieces have subsequently reappeared as part of other releases thru his Steamroom label as well as the Old News series on Editions Mego, but they’re definitely best taken together, in one sitting, for optimal immersion.
Mere, which also came out on Old News #8, is a richly alchemical work describing a transition from vaporous, metallic clouds which condense to precipitate a glorious kosmische coda worthy of Popol Vuh, thru to tranquil ambient, coruscating drone and almost oto-acoustic resonances, to a keening culmination of more folkwise, earthy discord redolent of Tony Conrad works.
The 2nd movementA Young Person’s Guide to Drowning is a more intently-focussed, slowly developing, and longer piece of work, it begins with a barely perceptible arrival, glacially keening into field recordings that turn into bleeps and noisy pulses with the uncanniest, stealthy segues, before the 2nd part seems off into a pool of viscous, sloshing drone which somehow defies physics to melt into brittle prongs and finish in a surreal, folkways fashion that leaves us just as beguiled as by Kara-Lis Coverdale’s Grafts.