Boomkat Product Review:
A digital edition of the 2003 album by Jim Haynes, Magnetic North finds the electroacoustic composer exploring a typically enigmatic sound, that simultaneously suggests the poised, stealthy precision of artists like Bernhard Gunter and Steve Roden whilst also retaining a very earthy and organic feel that combines the language of early tape music with the timbral phenomena of the natural world. "Enter Jim Haynes. In a field crowded with laptop jockeys and people in love with their DSP factories, his music has a refreshingly handmade, approachable feel. In a subgenre (one without a good name) full of field recordings and drones that border on New Age saccharine and sound as if they were untouched by a human hand, Magnetic North is rough and full of character. He creates lengthy, involved drones using simple tools and some complementary processing, and breaks them up with simple sounds that are at once familiar and strange. The title evokes images of Arctic landscapes, but the music paints a world not so much of unremitting cold and isolation, but more a peaceful place blanketed in deep snow, lit by electromagnetic dance of the aurora borealis playing overhead. The crackle and hiss of the Earth's magnetosphere is never very far away, nor is the presence of a human hand. Despite the trancelike feel of the five sustained drones on Magnetic North, there is an unpredictability here that holds your attention. It's accessible enough that it's enjoyable on the first listen, but it will only reveal itself over the course of multiple plays, which is finally one of the only reliable barometers of musical quality."