Review

Joe+N - rolling like-items along a conference room table

Foxy Digitalis

The latest outing from Carbon Records head, Joe Tunis (aka Joe+N), is one of the most interesting releases I've heard in recent months. This should come as no surprise as Tunis has been successfully exploring ways to make sound with just about everything one can think of. "Rolling Like-Items Along a Conference Table" is exactly what the title suggests. As the liner notes state, this recording was created for an art installation called "Balls and Pins" in early 2004. Basically, Tunis used a variety of items from the exhibit (balls and pins) and rolled them along a table and recorded the proceedings. Sound stupid? It's not. It's actually a very interesting look at how sound can be used to complement visual art. During various points, Tunis can be heard asking "Where are the gumballs?" and "You got a quarter?" among other things as he looks for different objects to use in creating this delicate soundweb. It's like being inside the brain of an artist as he works out how to create his next painting. It's bizarre, but interesting. Wind noise and low-level metallic hums perfectly accent the pings and pongs of each object as it rolls along the table. It should be mentioned that he used a stereo microphone which makes the recording even better as you can hear the objects going from one side of the table to the other. The effect is almost dizzying. This recording is over 75 minutes in length and at times is minimalist and sparse, with only a sound here or a sound there. At other times, it's more chaotic as multiple objects of various sizes are put on the table all at once. This is not a recording I look at as music, but rather as a piece in an art exhibit. To that effect, it achieves its goal of found-sound exploration. Also, the packaging, as per usual with all Carbon releases, is unique and fantastic. Based on his recent recordings, I am convinced that Joe+N is one of the most original and exciting projects currently recording today.



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