Jeph Jerman “For Henry F. Farny 1904 34° 48′ N / 111° 54′ W 3308/4708” CD (2011)

CD coverDead metal music from the wilds of Arizona.  Abandoned like so much else in the deserts of this world, obsolete telephone wires once stood at this location and made sounds regardless of the lack of human ears.  It again signals Jeph as exceptional among the growing legions of field recorders, or “phonographers”, as he searches out the unheard and special.  In this case, what is vanishing sooner than later rather than the banality that will only slowly evolve and become nostalgic in decades to come.  There is a poetry in in Jerman’s listening, similar to the poetry that John Cage had in his questioning.  It is a sign of true listening if one can start recording the world around without any intervention and have it mirror your style.

This recording is simple presentation of a location in time and space which was a product of causes and conditions manifested only at that juncture.  In what little notes accompany this disc, it is observed that, “in the years since these recordings were made, the wire has either fallen or been torn down.”  No one continues to string singing telephone wire in the desert and finding it in the desert at this point of decay, before the end, and away from the sonic intrusions of a highway is a rare moment.  Like Bernie Krause, Douglas Quin, and Chris Watson, Jeph has captured a sound most of us will not hear and perserved some of its beauty for those of us who weren’t there.  Unlike those others, Jeph’s disc is an extended meditation on a lonely point, a fact conveyed more emotional perhaps by the blowing wind that only gathers in very open places.  Catching this simple beauty of course serves to calm and focus one’s listening to hopefully better appreciate the sounds always around us which are in their own ways constantly changing and disappearing, although less obviously so.

Traitmediaworks – tmw031