MYSTERY SEA 44 | Kassel
Jaeger | [ee[nd]]
the beginning is assuredly
the end — since we know nothing, pure
and simple, beyond
our own complexities.
Yet there is
no return : rolling up out of chaos,
a nine months' wonder, the city
the man, an identity—it can't be
interpenetration, both ways. Rolling
up! obverse, reverse ;
the drunk the sober ; the illustrious
the gross ; one. In ignorance
a certain knowledge and knowledge,
undispersed, its own undoing..."
William Carlos Williams,
Kassel Jaeger is an elusive
shadow, a password, a catalytic entity, not a real name anyway...
Behind this cover hides a French sound engineer largely involved in
the GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales)...
this rather enigmatic self-effacement serves the purpose of an equally
impenetrable aural art...
One thing is sure, Kassel Jaeger is assuredly a fine
soundsmith, and he presents here his debut which should definitely intrigue
and draw you into a multifoliated sonorous world...
Passengers on a rough shore,
we listen to the wind moanings & faraway voices
under the swaying sky...
Still stones turn to sand,
to tiny grains rolling down our dreams...
Pools warp our image,
reducing it to a volatile emanation...
This is the sound of within, skin deep...
the sound from turmoil,
as a sign of another life,
a new creeping language into the folds...
Faded forms under the melting sun,
blurred silhouettes inhaling a golden mist...
"ee[nd]" draws an intricate layout of disturbances,
a corrosive sea of transmutation...
VITAL WEEKLY 611|Frans
Ah, a new kid on the block! I never
heard of Kassel Jaeger, of whom I only know he works
as a sound engineer for GRM in Paris. I don't know if this work was
realized over there using the elaborate tools at hand, or perhaps worked
on it privately. I am no expert when it comes to software and such like,
but it seems to me that there is a fair use of what is developed over
there. I must keep on guessing, as to the sound input, which seems to
me field recordings, which are heavily processed. None of the sounds
in any of the five tracks can be easily traced back to it's original
form. The end result is what counts of course and the end result may
be heard! In trying to change the underworld of deep sea life,
Jaeger has something new on offer that sets him apart from
his peers. His music is somewhat louder and grittier than others. A
bit more noise based, although this is still far away from Merzbow.
At the same time it's not ambient industrial, but rather more academic
in approach, even when the compositions themselves are not like serious
computer avant-garde. You get my drift? Jaeger's music
moves between the lines, off side microsound (too loud), off side noise
(too soft) and off side musique concrete (the pieces are too minimal).
This all makes this a highly interesting release. Rough and not entirely
refined, this is certainly also an odd ball for this label!
A scarring sonic gouge establishes an outlook
of urgent intensity on Kassel Jaeger’s debut
full-length. Jaeger revels in a tide of pollutants,
crosscurrents of electronic grit and grime, and colliding streams of
untamed signals. Samples, often heavily processed so as to be virtually
unrecognizable, proliferate like algae, submerged in a welter of soft,
yet occasionally sibilant noise.
In revealing himself to be an astute observer of a number of musical
forms (microsound, dark ambient, drone, musique concrete, noise), the
tracks here are forced to reveal very little else. Rather they rest
in the cracks between these musical territories, where a fluid feel
of contrast is at work, and where there secrets remain delightfully
distant. See “Supra” where the sharply accentuated staccatos
perforate the choppy yet buoyant texture to give the piece a heightened
level of internal discussion; or the following track, “Contra”,
in which a monotonous percussive buzz gradually disintegrates into a
fairly harsh pounding tone before slowly reforming itself, all the while
accompanied by ragged high-pitched tones and other audible scratches
Within the appearance of rawness, seductive and thus controlled subtleties
may be teased out from the thicket - faint laptop manipulations and
shifts of emphasis that add a lightness of presence, and strengthen
the tense modulations of the albums emotional complexion. This tentative
musing, combined with a fierce eloquence, makes for a sound that needles
its way into one like the best of riddles.
Behind this moniker hides a French sound engineer
who works at GRM (Groupe de Recherches Musicales). It comes then as
a direct consequence that this music strays a little from the usual
patterns of the Belgian label, in favour of something that in effect
borders on musique concrete territories (especially in "Cis",
fourth track of the CD). This doesn't mean that the album lacks drones,
rumbles and cavernous reverbs; they're all there, only better integrated
in a series of more tangible elements and variously speeded tapes, which
for sure is not bad. Indeed, various parts of this record recall the
work of artists whose camouflaging of real-life materials is at the
basis of their brand of suspension and displacement (I'm thinking of
names such as Jim Haynes or Matt Waldron). In this case the scarce visibility,
caused by a thick curtain of low frequencies and often incomprehensible
"presences", is a basic element of the majority of the tracks.
There's also a sense of slowed-down vocal emission, particularly in
the conclusive "Infra", that gives the idea of some monstrous
creature hiding under a layer of sand, ready to swallow any unfortunate
walker who puts a foot on its body. If a well-prepared dronescaper (put
your favourite name here) decided to collaborate with Nessie, probably
the result would partially resemble this air-saturating piece. Kind
of oppressive stuff, but overall quite good.
MACHINE | Roger Batty
: 3 stars out of 5
Ambient music is often darkly hued or
lushly soothing but ee[nd] is more often playful,
brightly lined, dense and noisy yet it’s still wholly ambient.
ee[nd] is more of a richly detailed painting than abstract
artwork made from blocks of colour.
Kassel Jaeger is not a real name but Suda- name of
a French sound engineer largely involved in the GRM (Groupe de Recherches
Musicales) and ee[nd] presents 43 minutes and five
tracks of sonics. The tracks are built around dense collages of shifting
nature based field records, be it water, birds, wind etc, along with
static and shifting textured noise elements. And running here
and there through the dense mix of sounds and textures are these bright
almost world music/ or child like harmonic shapes that often give the
feel like your swimming in some bizarre and bright colour - running
otherworld. I don’t know if ee[nd] is very particularly
soothing or meditative yet it’s rewarding in its detailed and
shifting often bright sonic world.
One for those who enjoy their ambient quite active, surreal and
dense. ee[nd] manages to create a selection of distinct
vibrate yet at times murky and psychedelic soundworlds that are very
rewarding and seemingly changing/ shifting on repeated plays.
| Baz Nichols
work is edgy and tense, with visceral sounds in abundance, aural close-ups
of decay and degradation. Jaeger,
a French sound engineer, works his pieces gently, conjuring up sinister
atmospheres, and corrosive ambiences that quake and flutter around,
verging on the edge of chaos and breakdown, but never quite making that
transition, remaining in the “sweet spot” in between, to
create epic, and gargantuan edifices of sound, reminiscent in places
of a hybrid of Lustmord and Das Synthetische Mischgewebe..fine stuff..."
WONDERFUL WOODEN REASONS|Ian
Yet another fabulous release on Mystery
Sea, if you aren't regularly checking out their releases then you really
are missing out on some great music. Kassel (a
pseudonym) produces a rumbling, tumbling almost drone like music that
hovers in the hinterland between noise and ambient. Never truly
quiet yet never actually noisy either the evocatively titled ee[nd]
is an earthy and decidedly grimy listening experience that is thoroughly
recommended for those with a taste for the coarser (but not noisier)
side of the sound spectrum.
wonderful wooden reasons
I'm given to understand that there's
no such person as "Kassel Jaeger", that it's
a pseudonym of a sound engineer who works at the GRM studios. Whatever.
This is a fantastic disc, swimming in lush, creaky, wet, shivery, extraordinarily
dense matrices of sound, constructed in broad slabs with little narrative
arc, as though sliced from a much larger "loaf". The last
track in particular, "infra", is exceptionally strong, a wooly,
bracing ride that leaves bruises. Limited to 100 copies at Mystery Sea.
Theatrical obsessions : Kassel Jaeger
refuses to ignore the opaque black-box nature of perception.
Despite all of his obvious and undeniable capacities as a composer,
Kassel Jaeger has a major problem: He is an honest
man. While there are several possible approaches to explaining the underground
success of Drone music, one of them undoubtedly lies in its potential
of creating a zone of intense comfort and warmth, of building a safe
nest for souls hurt by the relentless noise terror of the outside world.
It is a place offering instant satisfaction for listeners and a near-risk-free
path towards recognition and yet, Jaeger defiantly
refuses to go there.
In a sense, his latest album can therefore be regarded as one of the
most expressive and extrovert examples of a musical direction one could
bookmark as “new realism”: Pure and mildly processed field
recordings delineate a visual territory organically spelled out by our
immediate environment, subtle crackles and refined raspings bring the
cornucopian diversity of a secretive microtonal society to the fore,
while un- und surreal sheets of sound point towards an underlying metaphysical
mystery or – if you’re lucky– truth. The rewards of
this approach are clear for anyone to see: Imagination and tangibility,
concretion and abstraction come together to form an astoundingly three
dimensional sonic picture of the world, both rich in acoustic phenomena
and pleasantly unpredictable in its development.
“ee[nd]” therefore consciously balances
between the artful deception of musique concrete and the deceptive objectivity
of urban and pastoral field recordings. Throughout, Jaeger takes
on the duties of creative demiurge, building mysterious sceneries by
juggling with sounds and juxtaposing for- and background textures, weightless
atmospherics and surprising shock-effects. Almost effortlessly and with
a confusing outward casualness, he fuses the hissing void of enigmatic
open spaces with willful vinyl cuts, out-of-tune train-whistle-trios
and bubbling water sequences on bizarre daydream “supra”,
allowing seemingly accidental microphone contacts to penetrate the hushed
whisperworld of humming whitescape “circa”.
Jaeger also displays a remarkable penchant for dramaturgy.
His work, while resting zen-like in the moment, never marks time. “ee[nd]”
has been conceived as a wave, reaching its trough in the floating high-tone
passages of the middle section and culminating in the thickening textures
and plots of the last 25-minutes taken up by extended closing cuts “cis”
and “infra”. Here, silent knots are disentangled and loose
ends tightly stringed together to form forceful, intensely glowing cirrostrati.
“infra”, especially, is the musical equivalent to a cloudburst
flight, almost exploding with claustrophobic electric energy and exposing
its audience to a belligerent multitude of associations and impressions.
Despite these theatrical ambitions, the emotional immediacy of the music
is occasionally stifled by its violent negation of escapism –
unless you consider some of the more depressive sections of the album
as a sort of experimental Dark Ambient, that is. The unannounced intrusion
of these dense moods by completely mundane noises (such as slamming
doors, howling wind or aggressive grinding machines) prevents the music
from entering that peaceful comfort zone so many other Drone releases
tend towards. As a result, the mind stays wide awake, observing the
body’s gradual immersion into the music with sharp eyes and critical
In contrast to more wayward tendencies within the realms of contemporary
composition, “ee[nd]” is however not trying
to purposefully work against its public. Rather, these pieces make us
aware of the highly impure consistency of our acoustic environment:
What we hear is always the product of the sounds themselves, our personal
interpretations of them and of the myriads of conflicting thoughts,
memories and streams of nonsense running through our heads all of the
time. If Kassel Jaeger refuses to ignore the opaque
black-box nature of this process, he may alienate all those looking
for a safe nest for souls hurt by the relentless noise terror of the
outside world. His honesty, however, cleans the lenses of our mind like
a refreshing tissue, opening the doors of perception wide for new and
very real sensations.
WIRE - Issue 299/January 2009|David
Jaeger drew the sound
materials for ee[nd] from field recordings made on
the Ré island in the Bay of Biscay in October 2006. These aren't
the sort of field recordings that are akin to photography realized sonically,
over time. Rather, Jaeger weaves a fabric of abstraction
from his sources, in which the original elements only occasionally stick
out, like bones in a soup. That said, its multilinear, simultaneist
progress, like the various cloud strata of an ominously busy sky, do
not offer any warm bath of interior reassurance. Jaeger
wishes to expose you the cold, stark realities of the bleak and beautiful
outdoors : every wave after processed wave of this album brings with
it jarring mini-events – clanks, slammings – which prompt
alertness and mild anxiety.
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