Jake Ford is an artist from Ohio who released Jaggedbloomer. It contains three tracks of him messing around with different sounds from his guitar most of which were recording on his iPhone. Call it genius or call it self-indulgent art its a lo-fi recording of improvised guitar.
I’m a fan of a lot of experimental music from Keith Fullerton Whitman to Fennesz to John Cage. A lot of their sounds transcend the traditional sounds you might associate with that instrument. Ford isn’t like any of those artists. All I could think of was a person trying get sounds out of his guitar.
Up first is “kfjbsh kfjbsh” which initially sounds like he is rattling some keys and hitting his guitar. The sounds are jarring and in no way musical. He scratches at the string, silence, then more hard to listen to scratching. Then it sounds like he is tuning his guitar, after that we are greeted with out of tune guitar and dissonant notes. A bit of a pattern starts to emerge but then it's followed hard to listen to dissonance.
Up next is “.75” which is extremely lo-fi. This time around he implements basic delay effects making harsh noises. His guitar screeches and sounds like a person who is just thrashing at his guitar. Sort of like Nirvana used to do after one of their songs. Up next is “.58” which might be the hardest of all to listen to. There are harsh high frequencies and feedback.
It’s hard to even critique music like this. When does music become music? Is the silent piece “4’33” by John Cage music? Apparently Ford is an accomplished musician of jazz at Oberlin Conservatory. He was a folk songwriter and got interested in avant-garde improvisation. I do enjoy experimental music but this music certainly tested me. There is a lot of dissonance and almost nothing palatable about the tones and textures.
I’m happy to see Ford exploring experimental terrain. I’d like to see where else he can go and essentially make the guitar not remind me of guitar. Perhaps sample the guitar and combine it with white noise and a sine wave or reverse the sample and introduce a bit crusher. If he wants this to be a foundation I’d like to see him take a full plunge into the genre and find out how dissonance and harmony can co-exist in the same space.
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