Jasmine Guffond’s music is kind, exploratory, and patient. Like a low mist, her music lingers and swirls in the air. It doesn’t seem like it’s in a hurry to move on, and that’s good news for the listener. Guffond takes her time; the music constantly evolves and the electronic experiments always sway from side to side, occasionally rebounding in the midst of the music. Her music is a form of ambient song, with light, breezy vocals sitting — or floating — amid the more electronically-focused sections. Guffond is highly skilled both as an electronic musician and as a sound artist. From Sydney, Australia to Berlin, Germany, Guffond has performed at a number of electronic art festivals — she’s an expert in sound design and sound engineering, and it’s all put to perfect use on “Yellow Bell”.
The gentle undulations of ‘Core Notions’ and the dive-bombing frequencies of the opener ‘Yellow Bell’ live at opposite ends of the street, but the smoothest flight in history can still pass through a little turbulence. The slow descent in pitch is the crest of a rollercoaster just as it’s about to tilt into the abyss; a close-to-silent spell that hovers in the air for what seems like forever. Soon after, the bass settles somewhere in the gut, and the thrill-ride releases its prisoners — sorry, passengers — as it calmly stops back at the entrance. Like a winter warmer, the music wears many different layers. Sometimes, the low throb of the bass drops out only to be replaced by a golden ambient aura. Deeper (and warmer) textures float on by, and a regular, cyclic rhythm whirs through the music.
This rhythm traces its sheet-thin lines over ‘Yellow Bell’, a delicate, wispy layer that drapes itself over the warm, transient vocal. Up until the final minutes of the sprawling ‘Elephant’, her voice couldn’t seem to find a place to settle. It just wasn’t the right time, and Guffond’s patient construction pays off. As soon as the vocal enters, a white-golden light descends over the music, crowning it with a halo — that near-silent sensation of amazement and awe takes hold. Her songs always arrive at a clearing. Sometimes, the vocals are taken hostage by a glitchy electronic stutter that seizes the rhythm and almost crashes the system with its quick attacks.
The edgier electronics are never far away, and Guffond’s music never feels overtly experimental; she has that crucial balance. Her music wanders down the sidewalk, and sometimes it finds itself miles away from home base, but it always finds its way back to her through her song. The soft vocals enter occasionally, as if she were calling the music to come back to her after a fun, playful time in the park; it’s getting late, the sun’s going down. Let’s go home.
Photo by Black Flamingo