After a spell in experimental rock outfits Thela and Parmentier, New Zealand-born Rosy Parlane established himself as a sound artist with a series of releases for Sigma Editions and Synaesthesia. He has also collaborated with artists such as Fennesz, AMM founder Eddie Prevost and avant-garde musician Mattin. In 2004, Parlane joined the ranks of influential UK label Touch and released the magnificent Iris.
Following a similar template to the one applied to Iris, Jessamine is articulated around three distinct tracks clocking at over thirteen, sixteen and nineteen minutes respectively. Like its predecessor, this album is a fascinating journey through dense soundscapes built around a multitude of instruments (guitars, piano, melodica, violin, drums), various objects (sawblade, radio, computer, bowed metal) and field recordings, all blended into thick and complex drone-like atmospheric formations which continuously change texture, tone and feel as new layers are applied. Although intrinsically monotone and austere, Parlane’s creations are extremely detailed, rich and evocative. Melodies may be almost entirely inexistent as such, yet there is undeniable musicality throughout, giving Jessamine a surprisingly pastoral and light appearance.
The album opens with shimmering noises layered over a scarce backdrop, but the piece becomes more vibrant as Parlane applies delicate touches. It takes a while for the track to settle, but just as it reaches its climax, it reluctantly begins to recede, lingering out for some time. There is much more grit in Part Two as interferences and environmental glitches continuously emerge from a seemingly orchestral cloud. After circling for a moment, they eventually evaporate, only to materialize once more in a condensed form toward the end. Part Three is perhaps the most rewarding composition here. While its first section gently develop over a series of soft and warm sounds, a wall of guitars progressively washes over before exploding into autonomous particles of distortion. As this cloud of noise comes crashing down, all is left is a single thread of sound which eventually brings this album to a close.
Parlane is responsible for the vast majority of the sound sources used here, but additional contributions from sound artist Marcel Bear on Part One, Japanese guitarist and violinist Tetuzi Akiyama on Part Two, and no less than eight guitarists, including Norwegian noise artist Lasse Marhaug and Dead C member Michael Morley, on Part Three. Yet, it is very much the New Zealander’s vision that transpires throughout. Rosy Parlane has found in Touch his spiritual home and Jessamine is sure to continue establish him as a major artist.
released November 27, 2006
Mastered by Denis Blackham
Other [Shimsaw And Amplified Saw Built By] – Marcel Bear
Photography by Jon Wozencroft
Written by, Recorded by, Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar, Piano, Melodica, Accordion, Violin, Trombone, Snare, Saw [Shimsaw, Amplified Sawblade], Performer [Bowed Metal, Household Objects, Contact Microphones, Field Recordings, Radio], Computer – Rosy Parlane
Since its first release in 1982, Touch has created sonic and visual productions that combine innovation with a level of care and attention that has made it the most enduring of any independent company of its time.