- An immersive release from the Lancashire natives.
- Location is crucial to the UK experimental guitarist Jon Collin. He often lugs his steel string to evocative locations in his adopted country of Sweden, like Tyresta National Park and Backporch Fågelsundet Midsommar. The ambience of these settings complement his unique acoustic guitar style, and if location is a key element within Collin's recordings, the setting for his latest collaboration, Sketches Of Everything, takes place within the byzantine recesses of Mile Whittaker and Sean Canty's Demdike Stare project.
It's unclear where this full-length collaboration falls within DDS's strange trip. Beginning their career as a singular VHS-esoterica obsessed horror ambient dub outfit, they've spent the last half decade making sides of disintegrating UK soundsystem variants. Due to the source material—Collin's meandering, improvised acoustic guitar—Sketches Of Everything feels far more reserved than recent efforts, perhaps representing a potential new, pastoral electro-acoustic direction for the duo.
What Collin and DDS have in common is their preoccupation with the comet tail of the note, the long trail of the rhythm. You can see it in Collin's live performances and recordings, which often involve striking the body of the guitar nearly as much as they do the strings. And of course, it's present in the submersive sound design that's the one constant across Demdike's catalogue.
It's due to a mutual interest in subtle gestures and atmospherics that this collaboration works so well. Each side comprises a 23-minute track broken up into five to seven different pieces. We witness the gradual, pleasant immersion of Collin's playing into Demdike's fathoms-deep sound world. The A-side begins with fingerpicking in a Demdike echo chamber. Canty and Whittaker stay out of the way but gradually morph Collin's guitar into wild mutations. At various junctures, subtle, trip-hop style rhythms emerge, with Collin's plangent guitar serving as a heavily-affected lead. On Discogs, the record is classified in two genres, "dub" and "folk," and more than anything I can say, that's an apt descriptor of Sketches Of Everything.
While there are doubtless records resembling Sketches Of Everything's experimental acoustic guitar and electronics hybrid within the shelves of the now-defunct Volcanic Tongue distro, most of this feels like new territory. The B-side however, nods to some of the greatest "twang-bient" records of all time. One of the sections resembles Neil Young's timeless, distorted solo guitar ode to the solitary American west—Dead Man (crafted for the essential Jim Jarmusch film). The record ends on a dreamy note, the concluding track bearing a more-than-passing resemblance to legendary Daniel Lanois & Brian Eno work like "Deep Blue Sea." In order to subvert tradition, you must learn it, and Sketches Of Everything sounds like nothing more than three record heads passing a pleasant afternoon, arriving on some deep sounds in the process.
01. Sketches Of Everything Part 1
02. Sketches Of Everything Part 2