Green just as I could see – Andrea Neumann and Bonnie Jones provoke our symbolist “face”.

The Appeal to the other made on Bonnie Jones’ web page regarding the task of listening to her work (she describes it almost as a kind of sound poetry which I liked a great deal) is one of collaboration. As is often the case with music of this nature, the listener and what they bring to the piece is not only important, but part of the final creative product. I’ve compared this many times on this blog with the active role of the reader in their relationship to the book. When Jones is making an appeal to the listener through her music, she is calling forth a response that is deeper than the animal nature gut response – although I am sure her interest in any feedback encompasses this response – the call to the listener is that of reciprocity, critique and extension.

In this way, and in this album, Jones and her musical collaborator here, Andrea Neumann, are making an appeal to the face of the other. Not the face as in the facial features, but the outer layers we use both to display what is inside to the world and to give feedback to the world regarding what we have absorbed.  The music incorporates  a variety of stimuli intended to creatively provoke that which we consciously keep hidden but also intended to reveal something we may not have known.

At the surface level, our face is just another element in spectral mapping. This music – deceptively simple – pummelles us with a variety of sounds and lush cadences hand holding us into the next listening offered. However it also slides into a deeper world within, expecting our face to respond and to react. Our interest here is in music and sound both as cultures unwinding sound scroll as well as the battle for our ears.  It’s as if our hearing were an embattled institution always on the verge of annihilation. The pivotal role of the ear and the face in the act of listening, once engaged with this music, becomes signifier with its own trajectory.

What is significant, is that under the guidance of these two very talented musicians the exposition of sound response teaches us that a sound doesn’t have to “sound” like a sound in order to assert a quasi-universal spectre of surveillance and integrated psychological processing. It may be at the threshold level when sounds are reduced to caricatures of themselves, that they attain their full symbolic value, and in this way permeate our “face” via a kind of new language processing. With much of this kind of music my collaborative listening is one of interpretation. In this instance, it is one of unearthing or uncovering that which is already always deep within me.

In this way – to misuse Deluze / Guttari for my own methods – sound significance… is never without a white wall upon which is inscribes its signs and redundancies and at the same time subjectification is never without a black hole in which it lodges its consciousness, passion and redundancies.  (Deluize / Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus) By this, I am implying we are more than a ready-made canvass when we listen to the music offered us here by Bonnie Jones and Andrea Neumann. We are the conduit by which music (sounds) become a new language via our own responses as they emerge on our “face.” We are both white wall and black hole. Because of its intention to provoke, this music insists we become something new and face that which we’ve always been.

I very much enjoyed my listening experience with this album.   You can purchase it through Erstwhile Records here.

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