the glass sponge

by coelacanth

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about

"these two guys are loren chasse and jim haynes. once again as coelacanth they manage to produce something translucently beautiful, and have the single-mindedness needed to sustain such extreme forms of sound art. continuing with considerable tenacity to plough their furrow, they explore the tiny and obscure channel of sound art they have chosen. like jgrzinich, they too reserve the right to retain a great deal of mystery as to their doings. all we know from this is that it's pretty small-scale; a specialist technician was required, and is credited, to 'rescue sounds that tried very hard to make themselves disappear.' otherwise, the events documented on the glass sponge are simply 'unspecified public and private performances.' make of this what you will.

having some familiarity with the work of coelacanth (and of their nearest antecedent id battery), i usually have this image of the artists at work burrowing like moles in remote and unattractive zones in cities or countryside, depending on thier travelcard range... once therem striving hard to locate (perhaps with microphones) tiny events which can scarcely be said to be happening at all. said events are captured and subsequently re-engineered into sonic entities. layer them all toegther and you have these uncanny products, utterly alien reports from obscure corners, compellingly beautiful, intimate airless, fully formed. we should note that their work rarely appears to be artificed; it betrays little evidence of human intervention. list of things that are meat and drink to the coelacanth boys include mould growth, rust stains, pockets of dust, cobwebs mists rising, peeling paint, decaying foodstuffs, and the gradual erosion of stone by the sea.

water imagery abounds; yet apparently 'very little water spilled into the recording' of this cd. of the four tracks, "the hexactinellidae" is particularly strange, as though these name monsters are some form of microscopic life teeming in the depths of the ocean, whilst up above the surface miniature foghorns are blowing. perhaps, these are inhabitants of "the leaden sea," another environment they describe. ay, it's fascinating enough to sit and contemplate their processes, but the finished recordings unleash a listener's imagination in many unexpected ways. "the electric hydrometer" is more of a portrait of scientific / magical device used to measure the water; but we're back to sea-faring realms with "the violet shell and its raft," an almost heart-hending episode of an ocean voyage undertaken by the smallest of vulnerable creatures, against impossible odds, yet still comes through it alive... life endures yet. i never thought about it before, but coelacanth is of course the name of a prehistoric fish long thought to be extinct, until a specimen was capture in the chalumna river near south africa in 1938. in like manner, jim haynes and loren chasse capture and preserve rare sounds swimming in our own environment thought to be extinct... or in some cases non-existent!" -- ed pinsent / the sound projector

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released July 29, 2003

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