Jo Jena‘s Rhythm ‘n’ Drones on the test tube netlabel was a standout last summer amid a slew of new freely downloadable music (link), a mix of crafty guitar counterpoint and thick industrial hums. The recent addition of four angular, layered guitar pieces to Jena’s own website (www.jo-jena.com) drew my attention to some work in the interim that I’d missed entirely: four electro-acoustic pieces, one of them in four distinct parts. They’re filed under “flachen und experimente (2005)” (or “scapes and experiments”) on the site.
Nr. 4 (MP3), the true keeper of a great collection, is tubular and flangy, while Nr. 2 (“In a Norwegian Way,” MP3) eventually allows a proper, if single-note, guitar solo to float above the low-level turmoil.
Nr. 1 (MP3) could be mistaken for a church organist on a maudlin, introspective day, and Nr. 3 (MP3s: “Entrance to Gresham College,” 3.1; “The Observatory,” 3.2; “De Corpore Saturni,” 3.3; and “Boyle’s Airpump,” 3.4) is at once diaphanous and industrial, each part abrasive in tone but aspirant in intent.