SUN HAMMER: A Dream In Blood (Futuresequence)


Posted on Mar 16th 2012 01:09 am

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Sun Hammer: A Dream In Blood

A Dream In Blood
Futuresequence 2012
05 Tracks. 40mins49secs

Already responsible for a handful of releases on Moodgadget as A Setting Sun, Michigan-based sound artist Jay Bodley recently made an appearance as Sun Hammer on the Futuresequence free compilation Sequence1 published last year, and has since contributed to two more volumes ahead of the release of A Dream In Blood.

The cover of this album depicts a rocky formation, a section of a mountain perhaps, under clouded nocturnal skies. Whilst this echoes the artwork on Radere’s recent release for the label and that of Widesky’s forthcoming album, and establishes Futuresequence’s visual identity, it also captures the essence of Bodley’s music pretty well. Stark, arid and desolate, yet incredibly vast and cinematic, this album is a particularly evocative journey through majestic soundscapes. Working from a reduced sonic palette, Bodley then processed his sound sources with homemade Max/MSP patches to create soundscapes which allowed random incidents beyond his control to alter the music.

The entire album appears to stem from just a few sounds, but this never constrains the scope of the music. In fact, Bodley establishes, right from the nineteen-minute opening tittle track that, while he works from a reduced pool of components, he expertly assembles them to create very impactful displays. Throughout its course, the piece goes through many phases as Bodley alters the intensity of the music just enough for the shifts to be noticeable and to give the illusion of vast changes when in fact he operates with little touches.

At times, Bodley’s sprawling atmospheric pieces recall the vast scope of Murcof’s Cosmos, especially on Nighttime In Jefferson National Forest, but where the Mexican’s compositions progressively generated high levels of tension, Bodley appears a modest man, and his compositions remain much more poised and stripped down. He keeps the sonic layering to a minimum, making the most of each sound and working deep into them to reveal their finer details.  This micro approach can lead to some surprisingly abrasive moments, as is the case half way through There Is No-One Around But Flies, when a cloud of distorted noise suddenly takes over the whole piece. When it finally dissipate, we are left with a distant pulse, a warm drone and a distant clutter of sounds. The drone briefly gains in intensity before fizzling out.

On Concerning The Change Of Address Of S. Akalin, Bodley places a layer of shimmering metallic tones over a particularly hollow drone, but it soon regains consistency before finally mutating into a long slow breath. The closing piece, a short reprise of the title track, is in comparison much broader and ambitious, but the same aesthetic applies here as on the rest of the album.

Whilst working from a somewhat rarefied set of components, Jay Bodley has created with A Dream In Blood a surprisingly varied yet consistent record. He never veers away from his initial concept, but he shows a lot of creativity in the way he processes his sound sources, making this a truly fascinating record.


Sun Hammer | Futuresequence

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