Boomkat Product Review:
Sonic shapeshifter Jim O’Rourke yields 4 hours of engrossing, kaleidoscopic recordings from the Steamroom circa 2017-2018 in one of his most significant outings for years.
Bringing everyone up to date with O’Rourke’s actions out in Japan, where he’s been stationed for a good few years, ‘to magnetize money and catch a roving eye’ operates under a title as curiously evocative as the music within. Swirling a palette of processed instrumentation with delicate layers of electronics and ambiguous field recordings, he conjures four works each lasting up to and over an hour that may possibly leave listeners feeling as though they’ve just undergone experimental therapy.
Working around the sort of spectral electro-acoustic frameworks found on his ‘Old News’ volumes, it’s possible to hear traces of all the genres Jim has visited over the years, from noise and rock to free improv and folk, all resonating within the music’s iridescent matrices. The four labyrinthine tracts move almost imperceptibly slowly, evolving with an organic electronic logic that almost defies the fact a human was involved in its de/compositional flux.
But it’s O'Rourke's poetic, tactile grasp of aural alchemy that really sets this 4CD in realms comparable with everything from Luc Ferrari’s surreal, serendipitous narratives, to the other-dimensional magic of Roland Kayn’s cybernetics and the liminal edges of Japanese environmental music, albeit imagined for non-terrestrial climates. Whatever angle these four pieces are approached from, everyone will surely draw on one of their myriad, fluctuating elements in slow moving saccades of the ear until a bigger picture emerges, like some Google deep dream landscape or mushie-induced revelation. Essentially it’s all the work of a modern mystic or shaman, no less.