Boomkat Product Review:
Probingly bittersweet electro-acoustic investigations of online surveillance and security systems from Australia’s Jasmine Guffond, following excellent albums for Sonic Pieces with her Editions Mego debut.
Paranoid in tone and elusively spectral by nature, ‘Microphone Permission’ evokes its subject in a mix of quizzical ambient sound design and mutated techno pulses that furtively get under the listener’s skin. As one might hope from experiencing Jasmine’s acclaimed solo albums, ‘Yellow Bell’ (2015), ‘Traced’ (2017), and ‘Degradation Loops’ (2018), the sound of her new LP is also incredibly detailed and once again lures us into a hypnagogic state where her ideas about contemporary life’s liminal but ubiquitous aspects can better take hold.
"Coming from a background in composing for theatre, dance and site specific installation, Jasmine is well versed in transcribing complex ideas into sonic arrangements that reflect their subject. The material in ‘Microphone Permission’ stems from a range of these projects - from the sonification of Twitter meta data, to soundtracks for an extinct forest, and emulating the harmonic shifts of a hydroelectric dam - without referring to them directly, using them as research that feeds into her stark and brooding dystopian musical worldview.
Developed over the course of two years, ‘Microphone Permission’ takes a justifiably paranoid standpoint against the ubiquity of smart phone surveillance systems. Taking cues from the example of the Spanish football league accessing fans’ phones via apps, to see if they were watching illegally screened games, Guffond’s music has a slow creeping sensibility that emulates the now near ubiquitous psychic dread of being watched. Between the muffled voices and subtly piercing tones of ‘Forever Listening’, the warped Arpanet-like electro of ‘Dotcompound’, and the introspective descent from clammy ambient pop to jagged electronics in Jasmine’s concluding statement of ‘An Utterly Dark Spot’, she portrays an aspect of the world as hidden, subliminal as it is ubiquitous and invasive, making for one of the uncanniest, incisive computer music records of 2020 so far."