Sun Hammer ~ A Dream in Blood

Sun Hammer is another pseudonym for Jay Bodley (A Setting Sun), and A Dream in Blood is an experiment in the random.  For this album, he attached patches to sine waves to see where they would lead.  In a sense, this technique calls upon a computer as collaborator, instead of as an instrument or tool.  And yet, there’s no randomness to be intuited from the listening; one is unsure which parts are composed, which are entered, and which are harmonically echoed.  Only the field recordings that pop up from time to time (tiny waves, a flowing brook) stem from an obvious source (Jefferson National Park).  The mixture of these elements provides the recording with liminal moments: a retreating drone brushed by footsteps, an ambient wash thrown against a high-pitched tone.  The quicker the sounds cycle, the more one leans forward in order to decipher the narrative.  And yet, none is to be found here, save for the perceived.  The organ tones that appear near the end of the title track may be accidental; the sonic rush at the center of “There Is N0-One Around But Flies” may be unplanned.  This causes one to ruminate on loftier themes, especially in the arena of intelligent design.  Do beautiful things – not only harmonies, but poetry and iridescence – appear at random, or is a guiding force behind them?  By setting up the patches, has Bodley created specific art, or the conditions in which art can develop?  Is the human mind the deux ex machina or the ghost in the machine?  (Richard Allen)

Available here

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