MYSTERY SEA 63 | Banks
Bailey | [Upwelling]
Touching down on those Quaternary shores I glimpsed for the first time,
Under my feet, remnants of our coalescence from an Archaean Sea.
What of our lives forever linked to these waters of life?
An unfolding in our veins
Realms of reverence waiting to surface
Eden memories of that place...
Banks Bailey, April 2010
Bailey hails from Tucson, Arizona, a region renowned for its
natural wonders... mostly there, he selectively captures sounds,
letting them tell intimate stories, and interact with our own trajectories...
Brought into the light by Ian Holloway and his Quiet World imprint,
he has entrusted him with his eloquent "still lifes", translating
them into a few rather remarkable collabs, notably with Ian himself
("A Brief Sojourn") and Ian augmented by the presence of drone-cult
figure Darren Tate ("Summerland")... His solo outing ("Vibrations
from the Holocene") showed his strength in assembling fascinating
soundscapes while using simple, sometimes commonplace, elemental field
flow into our veins like a dense river...
Dark night is howling,
and fatherly words still resound in our ears...
drops punctuate the drift,
echoes of dust, and past activities,
tiny jerks of life,
A ceaseless wandering...
along the twists & turns,
groping for another moment of truth,
dragging the remains on the banks,
"Upwelling" is a lantern,
an improbable guiding gleam...
articulating our innermost fears...
a sort of supreme loop,
where start & end meet,
leaving us naked, washed out,
just virginal, once again...
CDR ltd to 100 numbered copies
VITAL WEEKLY 752|Frans
Before this the releases by Banks Bailey came to us
via Quiet World, Ian Holloway's label. Bailey did a
solo release there, as well as collaborations with Holloway and Darren
Tate. Odd, since Bailey doesn't hail from the UK, but
from Tucson, Arizona and of course his work is filled with field recordings,
aquatic no doubt, since he moves here to Mystery Sea. 'Upwelling'
is one piece of music, almost forty-five minutes long and is a slow
builder. It starts out with watery sounds, and then slowly moves into
drone land, via those same watery sounds being processed. Pitched down,
I presume, stretched out, and slowly returning to the same sounds unprocessed.
Or something along those lines. In any case, Bailey
shows himself as someone who has mastered the techniques of drone music
quite well, but probably needs to find his own voice in that music.
For this one it all sounds vaguely too similar to his UK friends, the
extended family including Colin Potter, Ora, Monos and his Quiet World
friends. That said, this album is, while perhaps not highly original,
quite good. Bailey executes his drone music with great
care for detail.
There are a couple of people who I,
in my musician guise, collaborate with fairly regularly. Darren
(Monos, Ora, Dada Lives) Tate is one and Arizona's finest field recordist
Banks Bailey is another - we have a new one called
'A Slow Feather Falls' out soon on Quiet World. This though
is my first opportunity to hear Banks adding his own
music to his field recordings. It's rather nice.
The music is a single slowly morphing rolling drone. Sleepy and
soft with it's blurred edges melding with a variety of natural textures
(water predominantly) and occasional bell (or gong) strikes. It
is a mesmeric excursion where Banks holds you gently
in the palm of his hand as he carries you through some beautiful ethereal
wonderful wooden reasons
--- NEW !
Along side his collaboration with Mathieu Ruhlmann, entitled Anáádiih,
Banks Bailey has steadily increased his release count
of limited run cdrs since 2008. His latest for MS is strictly his own,
in which he blends field recordings–an obvious passion–with
the sounds of resonant bells, intermittent speech, and quivering drone.
Because I've always lobbied for this sort of organic soundscaping to
be dealt with in the long form so as given enough time to flourish,
I was assured to find that Bailey decided to comprise
Upwelling as a single 45 minute track.
Very generally speaking, the term upwelling refers to an oceanic process
that involves the propelling of wind driven nutrient-rich water to the
surface of oceans--where it takes the place of nutrient-depleted waters--a
fitting title for a work that is rife with the sounds of water. Compositionally,
neither the field recordings nor the drone ever become overbearing.
Instead, Bailey opts for a gentle rise and fall between
the two, creating an effect akin to that of tidal movement.
Though fairly consistent throughout, the piece works best at around
the ten minute mark, where Bailey's microclimates take
on a distinctive industrial tinge via metal clattering atop a bed of
stifled ambience, and at around 25 minutes, when the sunken resonations
of chimed bells creep into perception from deep below the surface.