The recent EP Soft Answers by Janes Scenic Drive makes a strong case for the single-instrument recording — in this case not solo piano, or solo cello, but a synthesizer called the Polar, and produced by the company Access. Janes Scenic Drive is a moniker for the active electronic musician Phillip Wilkerson. Here, playing solo on his one select tool, he ekes out plaintive soundscapes. The tracks vary widely, from daybreak haze to industrial droning. One particular highpoint is “In the Country of Her Eyes,” which changes shape as it progresses, and steers a course midway between the collection’s more dissonant and consonant extremes (MP3). The enjoyably meandering quality to the synthesis may be a result of the randomization opportunities employed by Wilkerson. It’s especially pleasurable throughout to keep in mind that this was all produced on a single machine, that the sounds, tempo, the overall approach, all of it, is in part determined by a piece of technology that Wilkerson has taken the time to learn to make the most of. Certainly he is pursuing his own aesthetic goals — but he’s also, arguably, pursuing the aesthetic goals of the instrument’s developer.
[audio:http://www.archive.org/download/SoftAnswers/002InTheCountryOfHerEyes.mp3|titles=”In the Country of Her Eyes”|artists=Janes Scenic Drive]