MYSTERY SEA 44 | Kassel Jaeger | [ee[nd]]


click to enlarge front click to enlarge back


-"...For 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, 'Paterson' (1946)


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...


01 [ ]
02 supra
03 circa
04 cis
05 infra




VITAL WEEKLY 611|Frans De Waard  
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!
vital weekly

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 and scrapings.
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.

cyclic defrost

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.
touching extremes

Rated : 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.
musique machine

WHITE_LINE | Baz Nichols  
"...Jaeger’s 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..."

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

JUST OUTSIDE|Brian Olewnick  
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.
just outside

TOKAFI |Tobias Fischer  
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 ears.
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.

THE WIRE - Issue 299/January 2009|David Stubbs  
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.
the wire

>>> back to the Reviews index