Jeremy Bible is a media artist from Ohio, working across sound, photography, video, and graphic design. He collaborates frequently with fellow Ohioan Jason Henry, and also founded the record label and arts organisation Experimedia in 2000.
His new album “Collisions” begins as a series of small, highly focused electronic ‘studies’, each seemingly demonstrating an interesting digital processing technique: quiet hums, melodic golden spirals, and the like. However, it is not long before a sound is encountered that sounds undeniably digital, yet somehow also richer, more complex, and more familiar than those that came before it. In fact, it sounds a lot like the the incessant, sharp, high-pitched sounds coming from just outside the window…
This sound is your first clue to that “Collisions” is more than simply a collection of algorithmic concoctions, interesting though they are; and in fact your ears weren’t deceiving you: the album does indeed draw heavily on sounds made by birds — but not in the ways you’d normally expect. For example, there are relatively ‘clean’, unprocessed recordings of bird calls on the album, but they are combined with electronic tones in such a way as to muddy the distinction between the synthesized and the avian. Or — perhaps most strikingly — unprocessed bird calls are allowed to be drowned out by the (again unprocessed) sound of flapping wings, intentionally creating an experience that one generally only comes across in other field recordings by accident: an acoustic illusion of which, to commandeer Timothy Morton’s expression, one could not say for certain whether it really was an illusion or not.
“Collisions” is thus an album that flits like a restless bird between the digitised and the natural, the concept and the object — or rather, it often fails to decide on a precise distinction between the two, finding one in the other and vice versa, sine waves in bird calls and mathematical equations in puffs of smoke. It’s a record that practices what Morton calls “realist magic”, drawing the uncanny and the preposterous out of the very semblance of the real, and no more so than at its most unedited. Bible has produced a subtly provocative record that should give plenty of food for thought to anyone interested in the natural in music and the musical in nature. Available as a (praise be!) 24-bit download from Experimedia, this is, from my perspective, essential listening.