JIMMY BEHAN: The Echo Garden (Audiobulb Records)


Posted on Jul 17th 2009 12:58 am

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Jimmy Behan: The Echo Garden

The Echo Garden
Audiobulb Records 2009
10 Tracks. 44mins16secs

Icon: arrow CD: Amazon UK | Download: Amazon UK | iTunes | Boomkat

Irish sound artist Jimmy Behan first appeared in 2001 with an EP released on Kin Recordings and a split single with Connectfour Orchestra on Road Relish, but it is with his debut album, Days Are What We Live In, released three years later, that he first got the chance to fully showcase his sound, bringing together acoustic instruments, found sounds and electronic treatments to create evocative sonic vignettes. Five years and a couple of EPs later, Behan returns, this time on the excellent Audiobulb, with The Echo Garden, his second full-length.

While Days Are What We Live In had quite a bucolic feel, Behan was working with folk song structures which he adorned with gentle beats and discreet electronics, finding himself somewhere roughly in the vicinity of Four Tet or early Manitoba/Caribou. The Echo Garden is a much more free-flowing and delicate affair, as he strips his compositions of any rigid element and focus on the dream-like aesthetic of his sound formations. The result is a wonderfully airy and fresh collection which, echoing the picture on the cover, catches light through beautifully crafted layers of sonic particles. There is, here, very little remaining of the fully formed melodies that formed the backbone of Days Are What We Live In. Instead, it is through slight changes in tone or grain that Behan builds his narrative and affects the mood of a piece, occasionally adding a discreet piano or guitar motif as to trace, for a moment, a stronger line over a dusting of shimmering sounds. This is the case on the gossamer Pools for instance which opens with a hazy drone but takes a more defined shape as a warm piano pierces through the clouds, or later on the desolate Leaving Here, where a muffled loop progressively goes out of sync.

There is an impression of decay throughout this record, at times captured in the track titles (Rust, Leaving Here, Clock For No Time, Derelict, Dusk) and persistently embodied in the sound elements used and the treatments applied. Behan doesn’t work with crystalline soundscapes and polished surfaces. Instead, each sound is aged, distressed, rendered grainy and textured, and placed within larger constellations which in turn flicker like old films or scintillate like pieces of glass in the sun. Pieces like Rust, Clock For No Time or Across The Rooftops have a warm glow about them which radiates far beyond their respective span and appear to spill over their surrounding environments, while at the same time appearing blemished and patined.

In the five years between his first and second album, Jimmy Behan has totally rethought his approach and moved away from recognisable structures to develop his own language, and, while his sound sources haven’t changed massively, it is what he does with them and how he blends them together that gives The Echo Garden its intense poetic palette.


Icon: arrow Jimmy Behan | Jimmy Behan (MySpace) | Audiobulb Records
Icon: arrow CD: Amazon UK | Download: Amazon UK | iTunes | Boomkat

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One Response to “JIMMY BEHAN: The Echo Garden (Audiobulb Records)”

  1. The Echo Gardenon 30 Aug 2009 at 7:53 pm

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