Published Mar 10, 2020Having previously brandished dark and moody trance meditations, Nova Scotian composer and visual artist Jay Crocker has hatched something far different than his previous JOYFULTALK releases.
A Separation of Being features a compositional technique that turns the playing of Crocker's stable of homemade synths and instruments into a human algorithmic experience, with artwork that details his "Planetary Music System," demonstrating the level of complexity and relationship between human and machine.
The result is three acts tied together by a common musical motif and surrounded by precise patterns, all playing in slight dissonance to each other. Think different sizes of cogs spinning in unison with certain teeth meeting at irregular frequencies and others missing altogether. While the narrative correctly serves to examine our relationship with machines, and the execution feels as precise as something purely from the world of artificial intelligence, A Separation of Being struggles to find a sonic identity, which might make this a polarizing listen.
The challenge lies in the attempt to blend antiquated sounds with futuristic ones. JOYFULTALK's debut and sophomore releases both plant the experience firmly in the synthetic world. "Part II - Pixelated Skin" begins where those records left off, with a pulsing rhythms and buzzing electronics. It is the second track that initially also provides a needed break from the musical phrases that are heavily used throughout "Part I" and "Part III," and the latter half of "Part II.: This is where the Japanese-influenced minimalism falls short, feeling too indulgent for trance, too robotic for humanism and slightly out of fashion. (Constellation)