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Boomkat Product Review:
Jan Jelinek returns with a new album loosely based around Moby Dick's Captain Ahab. Gorgeous, as usual.
'SEASCAPE - polyptych' is the soundtrack to an audio-visual program that Jelinek developed alongside Canadian new media artist Clive Holden last year. Based on John Huston's 1956 film 'Moby Dick', the program took film sequences that Holden manipulated and ran them against music Jelinek created using a synthesizer that's driven by the voice of Captain Ahab. Sometimes it's completely recognisable, but often the volume and tone of Ahab's booming voice informs seemingly unrelated elements, like synth drones or noisy textures. Confused already? Well listen to 'The Water Seems Changed To Mist And Vapor' and Jelinek's complicated concept will start to make sense. It's not a glitchy collage of stretched voices and looping syllables, it's a drowned splash of gurgling, dying electronics and driftwood FX - knowing it's controlled by a well-known cinematic voice only makes it stranger. Is it muffled words we can hear beneath Jelinek's sanded pads, or just another synth?
Ahab's voice is more identifiable on 'Waiting And Watching (Version)' when it drifts to the surface and floats around clicking loops and woody clonks. It sounds like being locked up in the hold of an empty ship as the waves batter it from side to side, Ahab's words reduced to indistinct sounds that cycle backwards and forwards before slipping into muffled silence. Jelinek's literacy with early electronic process has no doubt prepared him well for this task, and while he uses contemporary technology to realize his concept, his music still sounds rooted in the pioneering work of Daphne Oram or Delia Derbyshire. The sonic flotsam and jetsam floats into the distance on 'On the Quay Now..." though, leaving an uncomfortable vocal drone and knocking that sounds like a family of birds trying to tunnel out of wood panelling. 'Drawn Toward The Whirlpool's Center' meanwhile is classic Jelinek, blurring smokey synths into modular pops and transporting itself to a remote, deserted island, never to be seen again.