Friday, 24 November 2017

Organum - Volume One/Volume Two (compis rel. 1998 & 2000)

(both Volumes have plain black covers)
Had you picked up an original vinyl copy of NWW's A Missing Sense in '86 (cover art below), on flipping it over your ears would've been greeted by what sounded like 18 minutes of close-miked dental work.  This piece was called Rasa, and its grinding, hissing and vocal swishes were the work of British drone artist David Jackman, aka Organum.
A Missing Sense/Rasa, split LP between NWW/Organum, 1986
After cutting his musical teeth in Cornelius Cardew's Scratch Orchestra in the late 60s, Jackman began releasing short cassettes under his own name a decade later, and went on to use the Organum name from 1983-2010 - he appears to have since retired from music.  The two Volumes in this post gather together LP and EP material from 1985/6.
In Extremis LP, 1985
It's pretty heady stuff too - I had the 'Ambient' tag on for this post, then removed it on deciding it wasn't appropriate.  Especially not for the 1985 LP In Extremis (as in, 'close to death'), which straddles the two CDs - the 20 minute Valley Of Worms was a collaboration with fearsome noisemongers The New Blockaders.  The EP track Horii is about as relaxed as the sonic terrain gets here, and even that one's a dark, droning vocal and flute piece that does a pretty good job of evoking some lost unspeakable ritual from ancient Egypt. (Amusingly, though, it does have a cheekily rockist 1-2-3 count-in.)
Horii 12", 1986
Elsewhere, the metallic droning, creaking and clattering that underpins so much of the early Organum sound brought to mind Iannis Xenakis at his most electroacoustic, eg Bohor or Persepolis.  Much like those grand slabs of sound, Jackman's work here, from the Tower Of Silence EP right through to the 1989 bonus track that ends CD2,  might seem on the surface to be a solid, impenetrable wall, but as soon as you get into it you're transported to its hypnotic depths.  Out-of-body dronescapes of the highest order.
Tower Of Silence 12", 1985
Vol. 1
Vol. 2

1 comment:

  1. Last sentance: agreed completely. I have these but thx for posting. Jackman is the best.