The Southern musician creates whole ecosystems of sound in his new release.
Alabama label Noumenal Loom is definitely no stranger to a humid, absurd realist approach to electronica, having worked with an international cast of good-humored gothic artists like Foodman, Giant Claw, and DJ Voilà. Taking inspiration from swampy folk and electronic exotica, Jasper Lee’s Mirror of Wind’s is the label’s latest. Lee has composed film scores as well as video projects; he also invented the Pyraharp, a plucked string instrument that resembles an upside down endtable. With this new collection of songs, Lee imaginatively creates a realm that seems fantastic and nostalgic, and then he writes its soundtracks. The result is new-age, primitivist plunderphonics in a similar tradition to Belbury Poly or Plantasia. Over a landscape of whooshing trees, cawing birds, and delicate, unidentifiable instruments, a mystery story seems to emerge. Quietly sung over spacious, saloon shuffles in some parts, and improvised with gleeful jazz riffs in others, the plotless journeys within Mirror of Wind are curious and enigmatic, like an unidentified reel of home recordings discovered in a barn. Tracks like “Veil of Crocus” and “Bamboo Shack” best showcase this in short bursts. They are not merely interludes though, but imaginative vignettes that move the album forward. Other numbers, like “Quaint Gothic Spring,” are more like dour Western ballads than abstract New Age works, but still blend modern and nostalgic myths and images. As the album unfolds, more instances of magic and suspense appear, drawing the listener in further.
Mirror of Wind is out March 3 via Noumenal Loom. You can pre-order it now.