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Jackman, "Silence in that Time"

cover image With a flurry of recent activity, including the Herbstsonne album also under his own name and Electric as Organum, David Jackman has been rather prolific in the past year. While I admittedly cannot say I know for sure what separates a David Jackman record from an Organum one (or why this one is credited to just his surname), Silence in that Time clearly shares some kinship with last year's Herbstsonne. Both feature his use of wide-open spaces, symmetrical song structures, and punctuations of massive piano chords, but the other details are where the difference lies.

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Like Herbstsonne, Silence is a single, long form piece (42 minutes) that features an intentionally reductionist palette of sounds.Jackman uses piano, a sustained organ/synthesizer bit, far off bells, and field recordings of birds.Again, it is not so much the variety of sounds that he is working with, but his placement of them, and the careful, considered production that surrounds them.

Big, booming piano chords stomp into the lengthy passages of silence, and then resonate slowly, giving an almost harmonium type quality to it.From this a bed of synth occasionally fills in the gaps, but Jackman has no qualms about letting silence take hold.From the distance the occasional tolling bell can be heard and the infrequent recording of birds sprinkled throughout that give an organic component to the otherwise empty space.

The specific sounds he works with on this record cast a bleaker feel than the otherwise more beautiful Herbstsonne.With the jarring piano outbursts and the far off bells, there is a sense of emptiness and isolation throughout.With the addition of birds, it is hard to not feel an overwhelming sense of dystopian desolation, and the distant tolling convey a malignant presence lurking just somewhere out of view.Intentional or not, I certainly appreciate this added dimension to the disc.

Being a fan of minimalism in general, Jackman’s work always encapsulates the best elements of that.Sounds are allowed to expand and sustain nearly indefinitely, allowing each deliberate component to become the focus before drifting away to be replaced with another.This deliberate sparseness also makes for an even more significant impact when volumes change or dynamics shift.Which is exactly why his work as himself and as Organum is always captivating.Silence in that Time has some consistent elements with the previous album, but never do the two feel interchangeable.Like that disc, there may not be a whole lot going on on the surface, but the attention it demands results in a consistently a fascinating experience.