There are few sound artists out there that rival the diverse and extensive modus operandi that Jos Smolders brings to his work. Recently, Smolders releases have focused around self-similar sequences, loose narratives, or some kind of overarching central theme that ties the pieces together. Harking back to his early working methods here (Freebasing A Is For Me) and simply homing in on the sounds themselves with apparently diffuse and disconnected themes, Smolders brings us into a world of shape-shifting foci. Here, sound is allowed to just simply exist, so essentially, what you hear is what you hear, without any un-neccesary frills or grand conceptual statements, this is an act of pure minimalism, simple, and concise.
Each piece is a meditation on particular kinds of sounds..the general industrial ambience of a train station for instance,the lowing of cows, or the deep inner workings of a harmonium, recordings of conversations in a street café, or the micro fine clicking and grating of a lighter. These raw, elemental features pull in and out of sharp focus, lending the work a filmic quality, and touching on territory explored by the Hafler Trio, surreal, yet intimately familiar, fused and juxtaposed, obscure, yet strangely familiar. Smolders’ recordings are taut and sharply defined, and technically about as perfect as it gets, particularly when listened to under headphones, one gets the feeling of actually being in these eerie, magnificent environments.
On repeat listenings, it appears that Gaussian Transient (Megaphone) is a linear piece, spliced into segments, each segment being titled after the work of Post Fluxus artist, Tom Phillips, one of a group of artists in the late 1960’s who used words as images, by setting up a text, and then erasing various parts of it to form a kind of obtuse poetry..this technique, no doubt influenced by the works of Gysin and Burroughs at the time, feeds into Smolders’ work, as his pieces similarly appear formed by a process of reduction and erasure. Overall this is a gritty, concise and bold series of recordings, rendered by one of the masters of the genre, Gaussian Transient (Megaphone) will, for me, be listened to again and again.
A true masterpiece. BGN