JOYFULTALK is Nova Scotian musician, composer, and visual artist Jay Crocker, here augmented by string arranger Jesse Zubot. With JOYFULTALK’s third album A Separation of Being they have fused elements of ambient music, world music, found sounds using homemade instruments, and minimalism through the medium of electronica, accompanied by a classical string arrangement to form a sealed whole that grows into an alien lifeform as it pulses and breathes before you on your living room carpet, ever-changing multi-hued colours shifting in a seemingly natural, yet hitherto unknown fashion.
This short yet compelling adventure into odd time signatures and strange arrangements removes the listener from the here and now and transports them to a thoroughly weird and rhythmically unsettling environment.
The visual element of Crocker’s work is something called The Planetary Music System, a “methodology for visualised composition”, which has been under development since 2012. The visual score for A Separation of Being is “a 5’ by 10’ mural that features geometric multi-dimensional cycles of brightly coloured, finely detailed sound notation”.
Highly cerebral in nature, this music, as you might guess, sits in the same universe as the more esoteric and iconoclastic composers of our time, with the influential presence of the minimalist icons never far away. There is little doubt that one has to be in the correct frame of mind to fully appreciate it.
Crocker has been ploughing a lonely furrow with his own version of systems music for some 15 years, and sees this as a pinnacle of his endeavours to date. Be warned, it is rather arid up here, and you may need an oxygen mask to cope with the rarefied atmosphere, but I have to admit that the music is thoroughly hypnotic, none more so than the final part which weaves Gordian knots of kaleidoscopic rhythm and pulsing music through one’s neural pathways, music one can easily get totally lost within. To that extent, A Separation of Being more than accomplishes its goal.
01. Part I – I’ve Got That Trans-Dimensional Feeling Again (7:43)
02. Part II – Pixelated Skin (8:49)
03. Part III – Liquefied Then Evaporated (16:48)
Total Time – 33:20
Jay Crocker – All instruments (written, arranged and performed)
Jesse Zubot – Strings
Record Label: Constellation Records
Country of Origin: Canada
Date of Release: 13th March 2020