Jeremy Young recently released Filaments on Eliane Tapes, Moving Furniture’s sporadic series of work inspired by the remarkable French composer Éliane Radigue. The series was inaugurated with a release by Kassel Jaeger back in early 2018, and after a long silence two new tapes have just been released. To mark this occasion, we invited Young to produce a mix. Like me, Young is an American living in Montréal, Canada, so it was also nice to discover some connections between us. Young works primarily with reel-to-reel tape and contact miked objects and has worked on a wide variety of projects including sound-poetry and audio-visual scoring. We at ACL have long been fans of Jeremy’s solo work as szilárd, and especially his trio Sontag Shogun and their predecessor (The) Slowest Runner (In All The World). And so it is our great pleasure to present Je Suis Mon Absence. (Joseph Sannicandro)
Please introduce yourself.
My name’s Jeremy Young. I play reel-to-reel tape machines, oscillators, and amplified objects and surfaces in Sontag Shogun, and create poetry_sound in Cloud Circuit. I also play and compose music for guitar and electronics, and have created work with artists like Shinya Sugimoto, Julia Kent, Janek Schaefer, Jean DL, Leonie Roessler, Nick Kuepfer, Aaron Martin, Daniel Merrill (of Dead Rat Orchestra), Christopher Tignor, Tomonari Nishikawa, Kate Ladenheim, Guillaume Vallée, moody alien, and the late Paul Clipson.
I live and freeze in Montreal, Quebec.
Tell us about this mix.
“Je Suis Mon Absence.” features sonic material from artists who generally inform my practice as a composer and séancier of musique concrète and conceptual audio work. The title was taken from a line by Quebec poet Cécile Cloutier, which is read here by my life partner Catherine Métayer.
Although I’m currently celebrating the release of Filaments on Eliane Tapes — a longform work dedicated to, in response to, and seeking to reinterpret the process and praxis of the great and still (in my opinion) vastly underappreciated electroacoustic pioneer Éliane Radigue — this mix doesn’t feature any of Radigue’s work.
Rather, the goal here is to paint the outer parhelia of sound referential material as if to suggest a landscape of influence on my creative and deep listening practices and haptic performative response, at large (?). Perhaps a winter landscape, smudged, stained, and dotted on canvas with as much oil pigment as fallen snow.
Radigue’s work is very important to me but it’s been well-covered here on A Closer Listen and in the commentary surrounding the release of Filaments, as well as François Bonnet and Philip White’s additions to the Eliane Tapes series. But I also find Radigue incredibly difficult. For a minimalist oeuvre, her body of work takes quite a ferocious bit of commitment to spar with, it certainly is not relaxing. And neither is this collection.
I hear this collection really as a compendium of gestures. The capturing and sculpting of air through the hollow hull of John Butcher’s saxophone; the thin film between tone and texture created by Lucy Railton and Theresa Wong’s cello bow and strings; the tightrope toggle of controlled chaos that propels both Vainio and Pade’s oscillator tai chi; the bent chordal striations cutting through Eyvind Kang’s ecstatic composition; the fragmented, subterranean altosaxo stabs of James Goddard’s Skin Tone project.
As a performer, I can get lost in the micro — but as a listener, this experience is for the macro.
I make few distinctions when it comes to very short versus very long pieces; both retain the potential to take a listener outside of their linear perception of time. Patient audio works of any length may slow one’s sense of timeflow, and the sharp edges of reality start to blur. In addition, I would never say that a very short work is an “interlude” or transition. And so I enjoy utilizing pieces of varying lengths because I think they command our attention in different ways and tug us in and out of conscious or focused attention. The entire listening experience becomes a dreamstate.
If during a clouded afternoon you have the opportunity to watch a shadow on the wall, it might flicker and fade, blur and sharpen, slide up towards the ceiling, brighten to a glow, and disappear entirely. The room never changes but the shadow dances to remind us we’re in it. We are both absence and presence in all moments.
That’s kind of how I treated this mix from an auditory point of view, and why I wanted to recall and include as a centrepiece the poem by Cloutier, and especially her concept of “being one’s own absence.” In fact I think there’s nothing romantic about this concept at all — we float in and out of ourselves constantly, we are filled with multitudes, we dance and box with our shadows and then flick the lights off.
If not by design, then by the self-bullying of my own ears, “Je Suis Mon Absence.” includes a rare 1960 faction in the middle, the obvious Canadian faction in the back half, and then smaller adjoined railway carriages of tape works, broken electronics works, oscillator works, and lots of resonance studies scattered around. I tried not to think too much about placement other than trying to find some abstract balance throughout. Like seeing how many plums have to fit on one side of the scale to equal a sleeping beaver (or something). This pretty much reflects both my listening tastes and my curatorial cross to bear. Fashioning it to fit within 100 minutes was a challenge.
I usually ask about the local scene, but we both live in the same city and aside from some open air socially-distanced concerts over the summer, we’ve been on lockdown. Any thing you want to add about what’s going on in Montreal?
Right on. Of course it is a difficult time for everyone right now, and impossible to predict the future, but do you have anything coming up to share?
In April 2021, I’ll be launching a very special album called Amaro on the Greek independent label Thirsty Leaves Music. This LP is a “solo” record but includes duets with Vito Ricci, Dolphin Midwives, Pauline Kim Harris (String Noise), Markus Floats, Ida Toninato, Deanna Radford (Cloud Circuit), Johannes Bergmark, and Tomonari Nishikawa. Please look out for that as I also hope to be touring on this music (fingers crossed!).
00:00 ~ Pan Sonic – “Ahdin”
02:14 ~ Maggi Payne – “Apparent Horizon”
12:57 ~ John Butcher – “Willow Shiver”
15:53 ~ Lucy Railton – “Third Lament”
20:09 ~ Kaffe Matthews, Andrea Neumann, Sachiko M – “III.”
24:15 ~ Theresa Wong & Ellen Fullman – “Harbors Part 3” [excerpt]
30:59 ~ Vincent Gallo – “Sixteen Seconds Happy”
32:10 ~ Toru Takemitsu – “Twill By Twilight” [excerpt]
37:05 ~ Else Marie Pade – “Lyd & Lys 1960”
41:42 ~ Anestis Logothetis – “Fantasmata 1960” [excerpt]
43:43 ~ Cécile Cloutier (lu par Catherine Métayer) – “Solitude (1960)”
44:45 ~ Skin Tone – “An Absence / An Abundance Of”
53:16 ~ Mecha Fixes Clocks – “Give My Regards to Time”
56:43 ~ Godspeed You! Black Emperor – “Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable”
62:35 ~ Christof Migone – “( )”
64:10 ~ Sarah Davachi – “A Garden, An Orchard”
70:30 ~ Jean Schwarz – “Suite N” [excerpt]
78:43 ~ Pierre-Yves Macé – “Qui-Vive” [excerpt]
83:52 ~ Eyvind Kang – “Visible Breath”